Fifth, through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations and "human rights" institutes such as Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA director James Woolsey, we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics and Russia herself.
U.S.-backed revolutions have succeeded in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia, but failed in Belarus. Moscow has now legislated restrictions on the foreign agencies that it sees, not without justification, as subversive of pro-Moscow regimes.
Sixth, America conducted 78 days of bombing of Serbia for the crime of fighting to hold on to her rebellious province, Kosovo, and for refusing to grant NATO marching rights through her territory to take over that province. Mother Russia has always had a maternal interest in the Orthodox states of the Balkans.
These are Putin's grievances. Does he not have a small point?
Joe Lieberman denounced Putin's "Cold War rhetoric." But have we not been taking what cannot unfairly be labeled Cold War actions?
How would we react if China today brought Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela into a military alliance, convinced Mexico to sell oil to Beijing and bypass the United States, and began meddling in the affairs of Central America and Caribbean countries to effect the electoral defeat of regimes friendly to the United States? How would we react to a Russian move to put anti-missile missiles on Greenland?
Gates says we have been through one Cold War and do not want another. But it is not Moscow moving a military alliance right up to our borders or building bases and planting anti-missile systems in our front and back yards.
Why are we doing this? This country is not going to go to war with Russia over Estonia. With our Army "breaking" from two insurgencies, how would we fight? By bombing Moscow and St. Petersburg?
Just as we deluded ourselves into believing this war would be a "cakewalk," that democracy would break out across the Middle East, that we would be beloved in Baghdad, so America today has undertaken commitments, dating to the Cold War and since, we do not remotely have the resources or will to fulfill. We are living in a world of self-delusion.
Somewhere in this presidential campaign, someone has to bring us back to earth. The halcyon days of American Empire are over.