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Victor Rud's response to Amb. William Courtney: How to Partner with Putin

28 Feb 2017 9:27 PM | Deleted user

Dear Mr. Ambassador,   

I typically enjoy reading your work, but here, with all due respect, you've missed the boat on this one.  You propose the continuation of an approach that has gotten us to the sorry state of affairs that we're now in.

The invasion and occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine is the most consequential upset of the international order. Western reaction thus far is nowhere commensurate with the breach, and tyrants worldwide are taking a lesson. Acquiescing in the annexation of Crimea will clinch Russia's certainty that it can continue its marauding. This, in the face of stripping Ukraine of its nuclear arsenal, and then of its conventional weaponry on the pretext of ensuring peace.  The Budapest Memorandum was flushed down the toilet.  Who will ever again even entertain the thought of surrendering, or not acquiring, nuclear capability? Our pusillanimity has been the ultimate provocation.

In the long arc of US/Soviet/Russian relations, the macro consequences are clear.  Western capital, technology and know-how established the economic base of the Soviet Union, nevermind that they screwed it up rather well. Simultaneously, under the Treaty of Rapallo, Moscow was helping rebuild Germany's armaments industry in violation of the Versailles Treaty, with German officers training the Red Army., and Stalin giving Berlin an object lesson on organizing the GULAG. US diplomatic recognition coincided with Stalin's starvation of Ukraine, breaking its resistance and ensuring the viability of the USSR for decades until Ukraine declared independence.  Reward for a job well done, with the Western press spiking the genocide story with especial vigor.

The Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact then plunged Europe into WWII.  How in the world did US recognition help us "deal" with the USSR??  Except if you mean that, after WWII, the Soviet Union succeeded to more nations, territory and countries than Hitler controlled, all without firing a shot, and with the assistance of massive US aid that exceeded, exponentially, what was necessary for the war effort. Harry Hopkins, Stalin's man in the White House, and head of the Lend/Lease program, ensured that documents re: "heavy water," "fission", and "uranium" were included in the shipments. The forced repatriation by the US ("Operation Keelhaul") of hundreds of thousands of Soviet refugees, the truth tellers, back to Stalin was heinous.

Post war, the policy of containment did not contain. The results were disastrous, with Soviet expansion being rampant. At the end, the cold war was "won," due to the declared independence of the republics, the multi-national structure of the Soviet Union having been denied by the containment policy. In spite of American policy that from the outset reinforced Moscow's control over those very republics. Every single President, Secretary of State, CIA director and NS advisor since 1991 has consistently confounded "RussIa" with "Soviet Union."  Not exactly insightful.  

After the fall of the USSR, what did we do to ensure that there wasn't a reprise? Nothing. We took our marbles and went home.  There was now a new game in town, with only one rule:  only one player allowed. 

And now we're today.  Until we absorb the predatory nature of who we're dealing with we will be merely celebrating a burlesque of diplomacy. And that requires that we, at along last, break out of a headspinning vortex of reality denial.





Victor Rud

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