05 April 2009

A Rebuttal (II)

Aldous' earlier post on the Russian leadership's apparent irrationality put me in mind of the following learned opinion:

At bottom of Kremlin's neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity...for Russian rulers have invariably sensed that their rule was relatively archaic in form fragile and artificial in its psychological foundation, unable to stand comparison or contact with political systems of Western countries. For this reason they have always feared foreign penetration, feared direct contact between Western world and their own, feared what would happen if Russians learned truth about world without or if foreigners learned truth about world within. And they have learned to seek security only in patient but deadly struggle for total destruction of rival power, never in compacts and compromises with it.
You'd think that the author of this quote would back up the Real Clear World piece. Unfortunately, George Kennan has been dead for four years, and the quote above is taken from his famous "Long Telegram" on US-Soviet relations written in 1946 - which is where I would consign any analysis that makes unsubstantiated claims regarding the supposed intractability of Russian strategic aims.

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