America’s Russian Policy
Updated on August 9, 2014
Russian leader Gorbachev with Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush came close to agreement on total nuclear disarmament. Subsequently the USSR blew up and the Russian economy went into the tank. New leader Yeltsin was frequently drunk and, despite public bluster, took direction from the Clinton administration. American bad advice helped destroy the Russian economy. The greatest asset stripping in history came to be known as “shock therapy”-- more “shock” than “therapy.”
American officials then engaged in the public deceit that America “won” the Cold War. In this mood, the Clinton Administration broke the first Bush administration’s promise that if Germany was reunited as a NATO member, then the Western alliance would never “move one inch to the East.” Instead, American led NATO expanded into Warsaw Pact areas and into counties of the former Soviet Union. The present scary violence in Ukraine can be traced to that broken promise.
Ambassador to Russia George Keenan, age 94, gave this advice in an interview in 1998:
I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. The expansion would make the founding fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. NATO expansion was simply a lighthearted action by a Senate that had no real interest in foreign affairs.
What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was. I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don’t people understand? Our differences in the Cold War were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs of the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime. And Russia’s democracy is as far advanced, if not further, as any of these countries. We’ve just signed up to defend from Russia, and then the NATO expanders will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are—but this is just wrong.”
Since then, both the second Bush and Obama Administrations have continued, despite repetitive misadventures, in the fantasy that America should run the world.
My book Democratic Capitalism: The Way to a World of Peace and Plenty was published in 2004. It began with an agenda for human progress that included these four R’s: Reaffirm Idealism, Refine Capitalism, Restructure Government, and Reposition Foreign Policy. To reposition foreign policy, I suggested that the global mission of the United States should be to promulgate economic freedom while recognizing that moral economic leadership and warrior-state geopolitics are mutually exclusive. Only a growing sense of worldwide economic common purpose can phase out reciprocal atrocities. All countries have the responsibility to use economic freedom to improve the lives of their people in ways consistent with their cultures and at their own chosen pace. By accepting this reality, the United States can become a strong team-player while purging its own imperfections.
The American economy continues to be dominated by Finance Capitalism with support from the government while foreign policy continues to be dominated by the chicken hawks of both Parties following their urge to run the world. The Information Age Revolution can make the 21st century the most prosperous and peaceful in human history but not until these two impediments are recognized and neutralized. The present momentum is unfortunately toward persistent high unemployment and fractious relations among the seven nations who already have the bomb, including India and Pakistan. A nuclear catastrophe is an increasing threat.
For further study please read Stephen F. Cohen: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, chapter 7, my book Democratic Capitalism available from Amazon.. com. and web site www.democratic-capitalism.com