Washington Blunders into an Unwinnable Campaign Against Russia
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, back view (Photo by AP).
A report (download the report in PDF format) from a British group called the DAIWA Institute (a research organization affiliated with the European branch of a Japanese investment firm) is interesting in several respects. Nonetheless, the blame-pointing is not necessarily sound and the picture of both American and Russian policy options is, at best, mixed. I think the idea of a "Medvedev Doctrine" also seems peculiar. When did the United States ever say that it supports a "uni-polar" world? That would be ridiculous. But that apparently is what the report says Medvedev wants the world to think America is proposing.
As for Russia's reserving to itself the right to protect Russian citizens anywhere, it is a striking concept, but it needs to be carefully defined. The U.S. has often intervened in the past to protect U.S. citizens around the world, sometimes deploying military forces to do so (the invasions of Grenada, to name one examples in the last thirty years). But then again, the U.S. does not do this often, for various reasons. So claiming the "right" to do so is strange. It would seem that every nation has the right to protect its citizens, but that right has to be clearly hedged by circumstances. So I can't say I am impressed with this alleged new Doctrine.
The warning about nuclear conflict is correct, if even in the abstract. There really should be fewer public pronouncements now and more serious diplomacy behind closed doors where leaders from both sides can be both frank and mutually respectful.