Proof that saying stupid things

by Nathan Hamm on 9/17/2003

Proof that saying stupid things gets attention and self-congratulatory head-nodding
This just jumped in my inbox from the RFE/RL Russian Foreign Policy email (I hate finding their direct links, so.. sorry)

AFGHANISTAN. In an interview with “Izvestiya” on 8 September, Russian
Ambassador to the UN Sergei Lavrov called for the development of a
“concrete program” or “road map” for rebuilding Iraq. Such a program,
he said, would spell out a timetable for “creating a provisional
government, forming a constitutional assembly, preparing a
constitution,” and holding elections for “a permanent government
recognized by the world.” He also said the situation in Iraq is getting
worse each day, claiming that if the current rate of coalition troop
losses in Iraq were to continue over the same length of time that
Soviet forces were in Afghanistan (approximately a decade), the number
of soldiers killed in action would roughly equal the 13,000 Soviet
troops killed in Afghanistan. Lavrov downplayed the possibility that
Russia might dispatch combat forces as part of a peacekeeping force in
Iraq, but suggested that it might get involved in such activities as
training Iraqi police. On 4 September, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov
said it is possible Russia could send peacekeeping forces to Iraq under
a UN mandate (see “RFE/RL Newsline,” 8 September 2003).

Yes, it’s exactly the same! The US went in to prop up a client state
along it’s southern border in the name of brotherhood (using the
“Friendship Bridge” as the major border crossing) and then faced an
enormous domestic insurgency that is supplied with high-tech weaponry
and sophisticated guerilla warfare tactics from a powerful and wealthy
democracy. Mounting casualties have since resulted in a massive draft,
especially among the non-WASP 48% of the population that is spread
along America’s border republics.
Wait, crap, I got absolutely all of that wrong! I wonder how he got an
estimate of 13,000 casualties over a decade? I don’t know if what he
said, or the fact that I could get any member of the Green party to say
that he’s just a compassionate voice of reason is worse. I think it’s
the second one that disturbs me more. (Real question that someone asked
me at work: “Oh yeah, you probably supported the war against Yugoslavia
too, didn’t you?” In all fairness, the questioner is entirely ignorant
of almost all 20th Century history that doesn’t come in pamphlet or
slogan form.)
Seriously, Russia needs to quit putting nutjobs in positions of

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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