A March 2006 Council on Foreign Relations task force report on Russia, co-chaired by Jack Kemp and John Edwards, recommended the United States adopt a Cold War approach toward Russia. According to the task force, Russian President Putin has taken his country in the “wrong direction.” As a result, the task force recommended that U.S. policy toward Russia should aim at “containment” through military encirclement and a more active role in Russia’s internal affairs.
Edwards and Kemp’s task force was no doubt responding to Russian efforts to promote greater cooperation among its neighbors in the economic and security spheres — similar to U.S. initiatives, like NAFTA and CAFTA, which provide a forum for the U.S., Mexico, Central America nations and Canada to coordinate their trade and investment policies.
Rather than embrace such initiatives as the “Eurasian Economic Community,” which promotes economic cooperation and the development of its member countries (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, with Armenia and Ukraine as observers), the United States, a non-Central-Asian country, is trying to cobble together an alternative, “The Great Central Asia Policy.” The project is unlikely to get off the ground because its pivot is Afghanistan, which according to NATO’s top commander in Kabul is at a tipping point, with insurgent Taliban fighters gathering the allegiance of Afghans (Daily Kos 10/8/06).
In addition, the U.S.-backed “Great Central Asia Policy,” unlike Russia, has no significant source of water to draw on for irrigation.
In an article in The Nation, Stephen F. Cohen suggests that the Cold War never actually ended, for the U.S. NATO’s military reach kept on expanding, eventually reaching the borders of a much diminished Russia. In addition, the U.S. acquired a nuclear superiority it could not achieve during the Soviet era.
It is significant that during the Putin era, sobriety returned to the Kremlin, just at the time that U.S. leaders were becoming drunk with power, drafting delusional projects for a New American Century. In response, Russia, together with China, began to draft a strategic program based on the maintenance of a multipolar world, consisting of a Eurasian Military Alliance and a Eurasian Energy Club, which, to be successful, needs Iran as a functioning member, as well as other regional forums, like the Collective Security Treaty Association and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The Bush administration sees the formation of this bloc as a threat to its sole superpower status, which is a primary reason it ordered the Eisenhower Strike Group with its awesome military capability to the Persian Gulf. Col. Sam Gardiner, a former military strategy instructor at the National War College, is quoted in The Nation: “I think the plan’s been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran.” He thinks it is also a “terrible idea,” triggering many unpredictable consequences.
Bush’s foreign policy reflects the most aggressive circles who openly support U.S. imperial rule over the entire world. The goal is to enforce the domination of multinational corporations in every aspect of human life, with a privileged position for U.S. capital. Many of the administration’s critics share Bush’s goal, but favor a less reckless approach to achieving it. Such a policy is still against the interests of working people in the U.S., as well as the rest of the world.
Nonetheless, we should welcome any development that restrains this administration’s insane drive to war, whether it is in Iran, Korea or Latin America. It is encouraging that a growing number of active and retired military leaders, like Gardner, are working to keep closed the gates to Hell.