19 August 2008

Right-Thinking on Georgia: Another Specimen

Readers here have probably noticed a new feature on the top of the page and to the left. It's a Google News gadget that allows me to show a sampling of the latest headlines of any news topic I consider of interest. Checking it out myself this morning, I found this utterance by one Rick Moran on a website called Family Security Matters. You might wonder what the republic of Georgia has to do with "family security," but so long as Moran believes that the Caucusus region is "a part of the world where having countries friendly to the U.S. is absolutely vital to our security and the security of the west," I suppose going further isn't too much of a stretch.

Moran is griping over the U.S. Left's proverbial "blame America first" mentality and reacting to assertions that American assistance to Georgia provoked the Russian onslaught. I think he's anticipating here, since he offers no links or citations to any alleged leftist who has made such a claim. Similarly, he defends his current hero, Senator McCain, against charges of "warmongering" in his comments on the South Ossetian situation:

Indeed, calling those who favor a strong, straight from the shoulder response to Russia “warmongers” without threatening war or even hinting at war shows just what kind of war the left would be willing to wage if it ever came to that. It is not “warmongering” to state the obvious – that the invasion of Georgia fundamentally alters the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. It will not be “business as usual.” And telling the Russians that is not being provocative, or warmongering, or belligerent - it is simply stating a fact. Nor is it“warmongering” to strongly condemn, in no uncertain terms and without using weasel words the aggression perpetrated by the Russians on Georgia.

This misses the point slightly. To give Moran something more substantial to work with, I'll say that McCain certainly is warmongering when he proposes the League of Democracies project, which is designed exactly in order to give the U.S. and like-minded powers freedom of action -- freedom to go to war -- without being constrained by Russian, Chinese or other vetoes in the United Nations. To the extent that McCain exploits the Georgian crisis to promote the League scheme, I think you can argue that every word out of his mouth is warmongering.

Moran may be putting some of his own self-doubt in other people's mouths. Here he defends himself and his movement (I don't know enough to tell whether they're Bushies or neocons) against the charge that they "fear" Russia.

It is not a question of “fear.” This has always driven me up a wall when the left has accused those wishing to confront evil as being fearful. We confront Russia, al Qaeda, and the rest of the world’s bad guys because it is the right thing to do. Armed with that knowledge and in the basic goodness of the U.S. - if not always in practice – we can face the evil with a clear mind and stout heart – exactly the opposite of being fearful.

Moran protests too much. He does fear Russia. Anyone like this who believes that the existence of tyranny anywhere is a threat to American security obviously fears tyranny. Anyone who thinks that alliances in the Caucusus are vital to U.S. security obviously considers Russia a threat to the U.S. I've long suspected that they enjoy feeling threatened. It's part of their narcissism and somehow a boost to their self-esteem to think that they're constantly threatened, the object of envy and hatred, because those feelings, if real, confirm that the threatened hero has accomplished something worthy of envy and has elevated himself above the jealous horde.

Need I add that Moran is another writer who refuses to take South Ossetian claims seriously? Actually, I do, because it's further proof that American talk about oppressed minorities is ultimately self-serving. We cry for the minorities when we dislike the oppressor, as we disliked Serbia, but in Georgia we cry for the oppressor as if Georgia itself were still an oppressed minority, still a "captive nation" in the USSR, which some people on the Right have never wanted to admit has ceased to exist. The USSR, after all, was the ultimate ego-gratifying threat that confirmed the success and importance of its alleged targets, the American entrepreneurial class. Some Leftists have long argued that the Right needs the existence of an enemy to justify military expenditures and national-security surveillance. There may be truth to that, but there may well be deeper truths that explain the attitude of people who don't benefit from military contracts or increased surveillance power. The fact that Georgia is unthreatening to us probably explains why certain Americans don't care what Georgians do to minorities within their borders. If President Saakashvili were a Communist, it would probably be a different story.

No comments: