Friday, September 11, 2009

Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia will not support either military action or sanctions on Iran should be a total and final repudiation of the charge that Bush's 'attitude' was responsible for the lack of an international effort to prevent Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Man, I like being proven right... and yet it sucks at the same time. I argued - and to friends who ought to have known better - that countries decide what to do based on their assessment of whether something is good or bad and not on whether the leader of another country is nice to them or not. France didn't decide to not send troops to Iraq because of Bush, but because they decided doing so wasn't in their interests. Likewise, North Korea's breaking of previous agreements isn't because of Bush, but because North Korea decided it was better for them to do so than to not do so.

And now Russia announces - as I knew they would - that they're not going to support any meaningful program that tries to force Iran to back down. It may be because Russia isn't worried about Iran using those nukes on Russia.. or it might be because Russia hopes to benefit when Iran does use them against Israel and/or American interests... or it might be because Russia figures Israel will take out Iran's nuclear program so they're playing 'free rider' on the outcome. Either way, Russia has made the calculation that they benefit from not agreeing to participate in a sanctions program.

And they did so even with the opposite-of-Bush Obama in the White House. As I said at the beginning, this should be the final repudiation of the anti-Bush complaint... but it won't be. Bush's critics (at least those who faulted Bush for his style, as opposed to me, who criticized the substance of Bush's foreign policy) can't accept that style counts for very little in the real world.