Who's really trying to recreate the Soviet Union here?
This article originally appeared at Journalitico
I’m frequently amazed by how much of the media consistently omits Putin’s criticisms of the Soviet Union from its reporting while playing up the notion that it’s his solemn goal to “recreate” it.
Which is why I was happy to see at least some reporting on the comments he made during his UN speech regarding the failures of the Soviet Union and its attempts to forcefully export an ideology.
The best analysis of Putin’s comments on that topic came from The Nation. James Carden writes:
As opposed to Obama’s confident assertions that the nebulous “international community” led, of course, by the United States, can and should bend the arc of history to its will, Putin expressed a humility born of failure.
As Putin told the UN Assembly: “We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.”
That is only too true. And Putin’s frank admission should (but likely will not) spur American leaders to pose similar questions with regard to our own “social experiments for export.”
Carden makes the case that what the Washington establishment has failed to understand, is that Russia’s recent moves in Syria are much more than some “imperial gamble”.
And he is right; any “analysis” that comes to this conclusion alone is not worth much. Or as he puts it, coming to such a conclusion would be to“grossly misunderstand the Russian president’s motives, to say nothing of the multiple foreign policy dilemmas facing the Russian state”.
The point of Russia’s foray into Syria, much like its foray into the the Ukrainian Donbas, is, given its geography, driven by a desire and a need for stability.
To suggest that this is not a central element of Moscow’s thinking on Syria is simplistic and betrays a complete lack of understanding of the pressures, both foreign and domestic, facing the Kremlin.
With Iraq, Libya and now Syria torn asunder, unraveling under the consequences NATO’s various “humanitarian” interventions, with Yemen on the verge of total collapse, Putin asked world leaders: “Do you realize now what you’ve done?”
That realization cannot come quickly enough.