Thursday, January 27

Pundita stumbles across Meddlers, Inc., aka New Atlantic Initiative

Stop the presses! Somebody notify Dr. Cohen! We've found the source of the US position on meddling in Ukraine and 93.5% of the weirdness that descended on US policy toward Russia.

No, the source is not the Washington Post editorial board! Nope it's not George Soros! It's not the post box in Belgium. And--are you sitting down for this?--it's not the State Department. It's....are you sitting down? It's....

The Hon. José María Aznar
The Hon. Leszek Balcerowicz
The Hon. Václav Havel
The Hon. Henry Kissinger
The Hon. Helmut Schmidt
The Hon. George Schultz
The Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher

Executive Director
Radek Sikorski

International Advisory Board
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
John Bolton*
Zbigniew Brzezinski
Robert Conquest
Paula Dobriansky*
Josef Joffe
Adrian Karatnycky
Mikhael Khodorkovsky
Martin Koffel
William Kristol
Robert Malott
Antonio Martino
Mitch McConnell
Rupert Murdoch
Klaus Naumann
William E. Odom
John O'Sullivan
Marcello Pera
Colin Powell
David Pryce-Jones
Jean-François Revel
Lord Robertson
Peter Rodman*
Donald Rumsfeld*
Antxón Sarasqueta
Roger Scruton
Marilyn Ware
Lord Weidenfeld
W. Bruce Weinrod
Robert Zoellick*

* suspended while on government service

That's the board of the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI), which is headquartered at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC. Alert readers will ask why there's no asterisk next to Colin Powell's name. We have no idea; perhaps some overworked typist's oversight.

But there you have it: the full explanation why there is a discrepancy between George Bush's democracy doctrine and how US foreign policy functions in Eurasia.

A look at the NAI roster makes it hardly necessary to read the mission statement but here's the objective:

The New Atlantic Initiative (NAI) is an international nonpartisan organization dedicated to revitalizing and expanding the Atlantic community of democracies.

The NAI's central objective is to strengthen Atlantic cooperation in the post-cold war world by bringing together Americans and Europeans to work toward common goals, including:

--The reinvigoration of Atlantic institutions of political cooperation and consultation.

--The admission of Europe's fledgling democracies into the institutions of Atlantic defense and European economic cooperation, notably NATO and the European Union.

--The establishment of free trade between an enlarged European Union and the North American Free Trade Area as a complement to strengthening global free trade.

Translation: If you think American foreign policy will ever get out from under Europe's thumb, dream on hayseed.

Well this is one hayseed who has been jerked awake. America will disengage from the NATO-centric view of the world when the cows come home. And if President Bush doesn't tow the "new Atlantic" line, money says he'll run into powerful Senate Republican-Democrat coalitions that block his most important domestic initiatives.

I note in passing that the objectives of NAI throw light on another mystery, which is the limp-wristed support for the Iraq invasion by several Republicans who support the AEI view. But of course! The Iraq invasion (and Bush's Greater Middle Eastern Initiative) runs counter to Europe's views on how best to deal with the Middle East! Silly Pundita to have wondered.

This tirade is nothing against Mrs. Thatcher and other anti-communist stalwarts represented on the NAI board. Yet Americans do need to find their own way; we can't do that if we are perpetually locked into the European geopolitical view.

The AEI-NAI influence in Washington solves the riddle of Kuchma's fall from power, Colin Powell's slap in the face to the Russian people after the Beslan massacre, and many other US steps that don't make a lick of sense, if we want American foreign policy to reflect integrity rather than a double standard.

Integrity is not the only issue. Towing the NATO line during the Cold War meant that the US could call for embargo against certain governments for arms trafficking with despotic regimes but not other governments, such as Germany and France. US adherence to the "new Atlantic" initiative continues the tradition of the American government playing ostrich.

Pundita must cut short this writing to put ice on her ankles, which are black-and-blue from kicking herself for not thinking first of the AEI when she embarked on the wacky quest to make sense of US meddling in Ukraine.

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