Guardian Pisses On Protests

by Nathan Hamm on 11/26/2004 · 4 comments

Johnathan Steele, the Guardian’s resident apologist for Russian neo-imperialism and rabid critic of democracy if the US supports it, weighs in on Ukraine’s protests.

Granted, some of his point about not getting too romantic about Yushchenko is probably well-taken, but this guy’s never seen a case of Russian meddling that he can’t blame on the United States.

Ukraine has been turned into a geostrategic matter not by Moscow but by the US, which refuses to abandon its cold war policy of encircling Russia and seeking to pull every former Soviet republic to its side. The EU should have none of this. Many Ukrainians certainly want a more democratic system. Putin is not inherently against this, however authoritarian he is in his own country. What concerns him is instability, the threat of anti-Russian regimes on his borders, and American mischief.

For comparison, he did much the same when writing about Georgia earlier this year. I was similarly unimpressed.

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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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TulipGirl November 26, 2004 at 1:30 pm

Thank you, thank you!

Today I’ve read several blogs that have speculated themselves or linked to political pundits that “blaming” Yushchenko’s success and the current demonstration against corruption on US “meddling.” Aaaarrrrrrgh! Why can they not believe that it is very much an outpouring from the Ukrainian people of support for honest democracy and that they will no longer tolerate mass corruption?

Castor November 30, 2004 at 8:47 am

Possibly because of Tymoshenko’ involvement. She’s not got clean hands and many are aware of that. I could vote for Yushchenko, but not for her.

Also, should Russia not be worried about the potential for U.S. troops appearing in Ukraine? They’re in Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the Baltic States. Why should Russia not construe the appearance of a military alliance such as NATO on its borders as a threat? Because the U.S. is so non-agressive? Bah! One remembers how the U.S. reacted to Cuba.

Nathan November 30, 2004 at 9:36 am

Yes, of course, it’s the exact same thing…

How many US troops are in Georgia? A small training contingent. If that’s a serious threat to Russia, well, then Russia has a lot to worry about. Meanwhile, Russia refuses to remove any of its three much larger contingents, at least two of which are major contributors to instability in the Cacasus.

And let’s not forget the 201st in Tajikistan. Renting tanks out to both sides in the civil war and ferrying Juma Namangani and drugs across the border? Yes, that was splendid for Russian and Tajik security.

Moldova? Same story.

Everywhere Russia keeps its troops, they actively contribute to destabilization of their host country only to turn around and “save” their hosts, who then become dependent. All of Russia’s neighbors have ample reason to be extremely worried about being too close to their former overlord.

NATO troops, on the other hand, build stability everywhere they go. And Russia can benefit from that stability or keep its head in the sand of Cold War paranoia and fight against it. NATO isn’t looking to invade Russia and it’s downright silly to believe otherwise. But hey, I’ve had Russians insist that the US lease has expired on Alaska but that we refuse to return it, so I never underestimate the Russian ability to come up with some incredibly wacky shit.

And the Cuba comparison is foolish. There’s a world of difference between the two situations that should be incredibly obvious.

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