With the recent appointment of former Wall Street Journal editor Marcus Brauchli to the post of editor of the Washington Post, the Post will inevitably continue to move further in the direction of the Wall Street Journal with respect to foreign policy and the so-called war on terrorism.
Consider, for example, an article entitled “Moscow Remains Overtly Contentious” by a Post reporter named Peter Finn. In the article, Finn writes “President Dmitry Medvedev signaled Tuesday that Russian foreign policy, ostensibly now under his control, will not stray from the often contentious course set by his predecessor … and will continue to pursue the assertive global role that Putin made a centerpiece of his foreign policy.”
How does Finn arrive at that conclusion? He says that Medvedev “attacked” efforts by the U.S. government to install a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Did you get that? It’s not the U.S. government that is being “assertive and contentious” by installing a missile defense system next to Russia’s borders. It’s Russia that is being “assertive and contentious” by objecting to the installation of such a system on its borders.
Consider, for example, if Russia began installing a missile defense system in, say, Cuba. What would Finn say then? Why, I’ll bet that he would say that Russia was being “assertive and contentious” and that the U.S. government would be acting appropriately by opposing such a system.
Finn also considers it “assertive and contentious” that Russia continues to disapprove of NATO expansion. Wasn’t the purpose of NATO to defend against a Soviet attack on Europe? And didn’t that threat disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the demise of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War?
So, why is NATO still in existence? Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, that question doesn’t even occur to Finn. According to him, it’s entirely normal and natural not only that NATO continues to exist but also that it continues to expand toward Russia’s borders, including plans to include Ukraine and Georgia as members.
Finn also points out that Medvedev “echoed Putin’s criticism of U.S. military action in Iraq.” So, it wasn’t the U.S. government that was being “assertive and contentious” when it attacked a country that had never attacked the United States. It is Russia that is being “assertive and contentious” by objecting to an illegal war of aggression and resulting occupation, which have killed and maimed and left homeless millions of people.
Of course, if it had been the Russian government that had done the invading, occupying, killing, maiming, and destroying, Finn would undoubtedly be taking the opposite position — that Russia was being “assertive and contentious,” a position he no doubt takes with respect to the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
Finn also considers it “assertive and contentious” for Russia to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for sanctions on Zimbabwe, which the U.S. government is supporting. Never mind that sanctions hardly ever accomplish their intended aim — a change in government policy or a change in regime — and instead squeeze the lifeblood out of the citizenry, as the people of Iraq and Cuba can attest. All that matters to Finn is that when a foreign regime refuses to bow to the wishes of the U.S. Empire in its attempt to intervene in another country, Russia is being “assertive and contentious.”
For another recent example of the Post’s Wall Street Journal direction in foreign affairs, consider Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland’s op-ed “Jitters Over Iran” in last Sunday’s Outlook section. According to Hoagland, Iran’s recent test-firing of some missiles in response to U.S. and Israeli threats to attack Iran shows that “the greater threat to global stability today lies more in Tehran than it does in George W. Bush’s Washington.”
For well over a year, the U.S. government has converted Iran into the New Official Enemy, replacing Saddam, Osama, the Soviet Union, and a few less noteworthy official enemies (e.g., Sadr, Chavez, etc.). For months, U.S. officials have been beating the war drums, suggesting to Americans that the WMD threat from Iran was even greater than the WMD threat posed by Saddam and Osama. One U.S. presidential candidate has even taken to singing, “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” Rumors have abounded that the Israeli government might bomb Iran on behalf of the U.S. government. Israeli forces have even conducted military maneuvers in the area.
But when Iran, which has never threatened to invade and occupy any country, signals that it intends to defend itself from a U.S. or Israeli attack, and then test fires some missiles, Hoagland concludes that it’s really Iran that is threatening world peace. If the Bush administration follows through with its bombing attack on Iraq, can’t you just hear Hoagland exclaiming, “Oh, the U.S. is just defending itself with this unprovoked attack, just as it was doing with its war of aggression against Iraq”?