In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and throughout the Middle East [.pdf], America’s name is mud, thanks to the Bush administration and its predecessors. During the Bush era, our international standing took a huge hit, with millions wondering what crazed act of aggression was going to come out of Washington next. Our militaristic foreign policy [.pdf] has alienated our friends while multiplying and emboldening our enemies.
To listen to Andrei Illarionov tell it, however, we don’t have enough enemies. One more needs to be added to the list, and that is Russia.
Illarionov is a Russian citizen, formerly a top economic adviser to then-President Vladimir Putin, and a senior fellow at the ostensibly libertarian (and anti-interventionist) Cato Institute. Illarionov resigned in 2005, declaring that Russia was a dictatorship and Putin was a monster. He’s spent the last few years or so telling anyone who will listen that Russia poses a military threat to the United States, and he compares any attempt to repair relations as the equivalent of Munich, an idea that Cato Institute scholar Justin Logan rightly mocked some years ago.
In any case, using his Cato credentials to make himself appear credible, Illarionov managed to get himself invited to testify at hearings held by the House committee on international affairs today, and his prepared testimony was made available by a reliable source in the Imperial City. I’ve dealt with Illarionov’s fulminations in this space on previous occasions, but I have to say that his statement to the assembled solons in Washington has got to set some kind of record for looniness. By any standard, no matter how low, Illarionov’s testimony is clearly one of the most embarrassing moments for libertarians in the history of the movement. (Warning: I’ve preserved the original grammar and spelling.)
According to Illarionov, the U.S. government has been falling all over itself to mollify Moscow, starting with Bill Clinton and continuing during the Bush administration, to no avail. "The outcomes of these efforts are well known," avers Illarionov. "They were outright failures. Russia has failed to be integrated fully into the community of the modern democratic peaceful nations."