Former NATO supreme allied commander James Stavridis on how to handle Putin. Political Observer comments

 

Perhaps the most famous piece of stage direction in Western literature occurs in the third act of Shakespeare’s classic play “The Winter’s Tale: “Exit pursued by a bear.” There’s plenty of reason to think that being pursued by a bear, the most iconic image of Russia in international relations, is precisely how the United States must feel at the moment. Seemingly in every direction we turn, Russia is there, chasing our policy choices off the stage of world events. Despite valiant efforts to negotiate with Russia in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Iran, missile defense in Europe, NATO membership, and cybersecurity — to name just a few — Moscow and Washington have serious disagreements.Perhaps the most famous piece of stage direction in Western literature occurs in the third act of Shakespeare’s classic play “The Winter’s Tale: “Exit pursued by a bear.” There’s plenty of reason to think that being pursued by a bear, the most iconic image of Russia in international relations, is precisely how the United States must feel at the moment. Seemingly in every direction we turn, Russia is there, chasing our policy choices off the stage of world events. Despite valiant efforts to negotiate with Russia in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Iran, missile defense in Europe, NATO membership, and cybersecurity — to name just a few — Moscow and Washington have serious disagreements.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/14/how-to-negotiate-with-putin-on-anything-russia-obama-syria/

Here is James Stavridis’ essay on The West’s Problem Child , Putin. Despite the rhetorical framing from The Winter’s Tale, we are in the shopworn territory of  Family Melodrama writ large.  Mr. Stavridis is the replacement for the last two military figures that have not simply disappointed – Colin Powell as an utterly gullible instrument of Neo-Conservative War Mongers and David Petraeus as pussy-whipped consort to Paula Broadwell’s political ambition, not to speak of his own libido, as the why of his surrendered judgement. The  central  claim of Mr. Stavridis’ first paragraph is that America is the hapless victim of Putin’s political nihilism, his status as spoiler to the magnanimity of the USA is established ? America as the eternal victim, somehow that just won’t wash! Should the reader take the mention of Ukraine, as part of that over-arching claim, of America as victim of Putin’s machinations as somehow a viable argument?  NATO was an active co-conspirator in the 2014 Ukrainian Coup along with other bad actors: the EU, Victoria Nuland, Jeffrey Pyatt, The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty etc., etc. The in-order-to of his recitation of the Party Line of America’s betrayed virtue seems to crumple, under the weight of just one instance of Mr.Stavridis’ lack of candor, in defense not of republican values, but of his defense of the American Nation Security State to which he owes his allegiance.

The first order of the business of the policy technocrat is to demonstrate, that he is first and foremost a political conformist, to the current iteration of political orthodoxy, as Mr. Stavridis does with this first paragraph. But the question that remains is what does he offer in the remainder of his essay that the reader can evaluate as valuable to a continuing debate about American Foreign Policy?

Here is Mr. Stavridis’ list of recommendations:

Begin by understanding the Russian worldview.

Accept the supremacy of Putin.

Prepare for a long and difficult process.

Sharpen your logic.

Don’t overlook the personal.

Is any of this advice beyond the ken of the most inexperienced diplomat? I would hope not! It’s called pragmatism.

Political Observer

 

 

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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