As Callimachus noted in the comments of one of his own posts recently, there are some Europeans and even some Americans who take every world event and turn it over and over, examining every facet, until they can find a way to blame it on the United States. That seems to be the case with Seumas Milne’s post in The Guardian:
By any sensible reckoning, this is not a story of Russian aggression, but of US imperial expansion and ever tighter encirclement of Russia by a potentially hostile power. That a stronger Russia has now used the South Ossetian imbroglio to put a check on that expansion should hardly come as a surprise. What is harder to work out is why Saakashvili launched last week’s attack and whether he was given any encouragement by his friends in Washington.
There’s no mention of the close relationship between the government of France and that of Georgia or Germany and Georgia or the United Kingdom and Georgia. There’s no mention of the foreign direct investment of British, Italian, German, and French investers in Georgia. There’s no mention of the provocative comments of the German foreign minister about Georgia in 2007.
In this view Russia, Georgia, Britain, France, Germany, and all of the European nations are merely puppets dancing on Washington’s strings without interests or wills of their own. Everything is just a response to American imperialism.
It’s not even vaguely possible that we were aiding Georgia out of altruism, that American companies (not to mention British, Italian, German, etc. companies) invest in Georgia because they think they might make a buck, or that we might be interested in rewarding and cultivating closer ties with Georgia in the hopes of continued liberalization in Georgia. Nope, it’s all American imperialism.
Let’s assume that Mr. Milne is right. After all the wolf and the shepherd are both exploiting the sheep. The difference is that in the case of the shepherd the sheep stand to benefit, too. To tell which is which, look around you.