Foreign Policy Blogging at OTB

by Dave Schuler on April 11, 2014

I’ve just published a foreign policy-related post at Outside the Beltway:

What Else Did You Expect?

With respect to Ukraine, the Russians are behaving exactly as you would expect given their experience of the last twenty-odd years with the West. There are too many areas in which we need Russian cooperation to accomplish our own objectives to go out of our way to alienate the Russians with little hope of achieving anything productive by it.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Afghaniman April 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Of course, if your “interests” span the globe, someone’s always got you by the balls. I don’t understand why the US needs to work with the Russians on many problems on that list, as they’re mostly regional problems.

Since when is Iran a US-only problem?
North Korea?
Drug trafficking? (are they serious?)
Global warming? (are they serious?)

These are all places in THEIR neighborhood, it should be in their “best interest” to not see nuclear proliferation spread, or countries slide into collapse. If they’re willing to hold these up over Crimea or Ukraine, it only shows we aren’t the only ones strategically incompetent.

Afghaniman April 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

To clarify, I wasn’t saying the US doesn’t need to work with the Russians (or any other country), but that we shouldn’t feel forced into doing so with what are essentially regional problems.

TastyBits April 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm


Syria is a Russian client-state, and Iran is or is in the process of becoming a Russian client-state. Basically, “anything you have to say to Syria/Iran, say it to Russia.”

Afghanistan has to do with supply military routes.

North Korea has a border, but they are a Chinese client-state. Maybe the authors mean that the Russians can persuade the Chinese.

I am not sure where drug trafficking or global warming fit in. again, maybe they mean persuading the Chinese.

Nuclear proliferation is only a problem if you fear nuclear weapons.

A country sliding into collapse is an opportunity for the willing. Chaos often brings advantages to the ruthless.

Dave Schuler April 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Iran is or is in the process of becoming a Russian client-state.

That process has been ongoing for some time, interrupted only by our support of the Shah. The Soviets occupied a good chunk of Iran during the WWII years. The Tudeh, the Iranian communist party, were supported by the Soviets and, the present Iranian state’s foundation myth notwithstanding, would have taken over from the failing Mossadegh government if a putsch of Iranian officers hadn’t replaced him with the Shah, whom we supported.

Even during the Shah’s tenure, the Soviets had enormous influence on the Iranian government through agents placed at the very highest levels of that government.

The Russians are just re-asserting the control they’ve had and wanted back.

TastyBits April 11, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I am not sure how far along the Russians are, but what would be interesting is if the Obama administration were trying to co-opt the Iranians or at least block the Russians.

Jimbino April 12, 2014 at 10:37 am

It’s not hard putting up with warped Russians now that we have learned to put up with warped Democrats. The sad thing is that we paid so much in blood and treasure to win the Cold War only to become socialists.

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