Why Russia is Funny

Russia is a caricature of itself. These guys weren’t just opposing the action in Iraq, they were handing over the playbook. The notion–which seems to be uncritically embraced by plenty of war critics–that Europe’s (or the part of Europe known “Germany, France, the little countries that hang out with them and their barrel-chested cousin, Russia”) opposition to the Iraq invasion was all about principle is comedy and little else. I’ve known for a long time that Russia was intent on blocking the invasion because they were worried about not recovering their pre-war debts from Iraq. And I think that the Bush admin played it very badly. But THIS is just a clownshow.

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5 thoughts on “Why Russia is Funny

  1. The funniest thing is that apparently the intelligence was wrong. So either the Russians were working for the Yanks, or they are totally incompetent.

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  2. It doesn’t make much sense to reduce the motivation of the war opponents to interests. Conflicts over money are the easiest to resolve. You can always buy them off.The western Europeans argued that an invasion of Iraq was unnecessary because UNSCOM could disarm Saddam. Bush was wrong and the Europeans were correct.

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  3. Hellmut, On what grounds do you conclude that “Bush was wrong and the Europeans were correct”? Could it be any more UNscientific to conclude that because we haven’t found WMD that “the Europeans were correct”? I don’t think so.Because part of the argument isn’t really falsifiable, which is that Saddam’s ambition for WMD was (a) incurable and (b) a latent threat that would never be eliminated unless his regime ended. This view is supported by (a) patterns in Saddam’s past behavior (b) the perspectives of Saddam’s own officer class in the Iraqi military (very nicely documented in a number of places including Ken Pollack’s piece in the Atlantic Monthly in March of 2004)and (c) views gathered from intel in neighboring states like Jordan.Above all of that: you have a geographical space the size of California with vast deserts. 8 months after the conflict we found a MIG in excellent condition that had evidently been buried in the months before we invaded in 03. If you can hide a MIG in the desert for all of that time, you have years of experience (and success) in concealment of materials and programs, and you are given several long months to prepare, hide and conceal, with what scientific certainty can you claim that there absolutely are no WMD? Or that they were not moved or concealed in the months ahead of the invasion?

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  4. Stuart, if a country’s ambition is the threshold of invasion then we should have invaded India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran.With respect to verification, Collin Powell’s statements at the United Nations were falsifiable. Powell statements about individual buildings housing contraband and UNSCOMS inability to find anything could not be true at the same time. Any reasonable person should have concluded that Powell’s presentation was nonsense. Otherwise one would have to assume an UNSCOM conspiracy. The latter is implausible since UNSCOM includes staff from a variety of powers with convergent interests. Anyone who was willing to connect the dots from Powell’s slide show to the UNSCOM reports could have known the truth three weeks before the invasion started.

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  5. If this is accurate the Russians likely revealed the invasion details in an effort to demonstrate the USA’s resolve to Saddam, in order to get him to make more concessions and possibly delay or even prevent the invasion.

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