Cheney accuses Moscow of employing pipeline diplomacy -- i.e., using its oil and gas pipelines to benefit some nations and cut out others. But the United States does the same thing, as it seeks to have the oil and gas of Central Asia transmitted to the West in pipelines that do not transit Iran or Russia.
"(N)o one can justify actions that undermine the territorial integrity of a neighbor," declared Cheney in Vilnius. How the vice president could deliver that line with a straight face escapes me.
Does Cheney not recall our "Captive Nations Resolutions," calling for the liberation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which, though free between the two world wars, had long belonged to the Russian empire? Does he not recall conservative support for the breakup of the Soviet Union? Does he not recall conservative support for the secession of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, and more recently Kosovo, from a Serb-dominated Yugoslavia?
What concerns Cheney is Moscow's support for the secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia. Georgia's president was also elected with the aid of pro-democracy NGOs, mostly funded by Uncle Sam. All these color-coded revolutions in East Europe and Central Asia bear the label, Made in the U.S.A.
When Cheney says, "No one can justify actions that ... interfere with democratic movements," he is hauling water for Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA Director James Woolsey, and similar agencies, which Putin wants shut down or kicked out of Russia for interfering in her internal affairs.
We Americans consider the Monroe Doctrine -- no foreign power is to come into our hemisphere -- to be holy writ. Why, then, can we not understand why Russia might react angrily to our interference in her politics or the politics of former Russian republics?
The effect of U.S. expansion of NATO deep into Eastern Europe, U.S. interference in the politics of the former Soviet republics, and U.S. siting of military bases in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia has been to unite Russia and China, and undo the diplomacy of several successive U.S. presidents.
How has this made us more secure?
If we don't want these people in our backyard, what are we doing in theirs? If we don't stop behaving like the British Empire, we will end up like the British Empire.