Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Diabolical Neocon War Plans Against Russia!

It's pretty much the case now that any international crisis involving the potential deployment of U.S. military power will be denounced as a "neocon plot" by many in the left-wing press and blogosphere.

Think Progress continues the genre with their sensational post this morning upon news of a possible cessation of hostilities in the Causcasus: "Ceasefire in Georgia Dashes Neocon Predictions of Russian Expansion in The Region."

Taking it even further is Robert Scheer, who argues that neoconservatives are manufacturing a foreign policy crisis: "
Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?":

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

There are telltale signs that he played a similar role in the recent Georgia flare-up. How else to explain the folly of his close friend and former employer, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in ordering an invasion of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, an invasion that clearly was expected to produce a Russian counterreaction? It is inconceivable that Saakashvili would have triggered this dangerous escalation without some assurance from influential Americans he trusted, like Scheunemann, that the United States would have his back. Scheunemann long guided McCain in these matters, even before he was officially running foreign policy for McCain's presidential campaign.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia's membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his bellicose views toward Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Scheunemann is at the center of the neoconservative cabal that has come to dominate the Republican candidate's foreign policy stance in a replay of the run-up to the war against Iraq. These folks are always looking for a foreign enemy on which to base a new Cold War, and with the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime it was Putin's Russia that came increasingly to fit the bill.

Yes, it sounds diabolical, but that may be the most accurate way to assess the designs of the McCain campaign in matters of war and peace. There is every indication that the candidate's demonization of Russian leader Putin is an even grander plan than the previous use of Saddam to fuel American militarism with the fearsome enemy that it desperately needs.
Diabolical? God, that's taking things to the extreme.

I noted previously that even Democratic foreign policy eminences, like former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, have seen naked Russian brutality and hegemony in Russia's war with Georgia.

So there's no doubt that
anti-neocon fervor has been quickly stoked by war the Russo-Georgia war.

In this case, the push to discredit neocons has an interesting electoral component, not just in Scheunemann's ties to Georgia, but also in the situation that McCain has long warned of Russian bellicosity, and his foresight is another strong reminder of his unrivaled foreign policy experience this year.

Ben Smith noted yesterday:

While virtually every other world leader called for calm in Georgia last Thursday morning, John McCain did something he’s done many times during his career in public life: He condemned Russia....

McCain’s confrontational stance on the Caucasus crisis stems from a long, personal skepticism of Russian intentions, one that dates back to the Cold War and that eased only briefly in the early 1990s.

Indeed, McCain, who publicly confronted Putin in Munich last year, may be the most visible — and now potentially influential — American antagonist of Russia. What remains to be seen is whether the endgame to the Georgia crisis makes McCain seem prophetic or headstrong and whether his muscular rhetoric plays a role in defining for voters the kind of commander in chief he would be.

What is not in doubt is McCain’s view of Russia. His belief that Moscow harbors dangerous aspirations goes back a long way, as does his fervent view that the only way to quiet the Russian bear is through tough talk and threat of real consequences — and certainly not through accommodation.
This kind of strategic clarity is anathema to the Democratic left. For example, check out Josh Marshall, who is sounding tocsin in his post on McCain, "Dangerous and Unstable."

There's a whole lot of left-wing unseriousness on foreign policy this season, but the Georgia crisis has really shown
how genuinely silly many of these people are.