Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quoted by Andrew Sullivan

I sometimes write to Andrew Sullivan, one of my favorite bloggers, relative to topics that he discusses in his blog. Since his blog isn't set up to receive posted comments, Andrew Sullivan occasionally references some of the comments his readers send to him via email in his blog postings. Well, imagine my surprise to see a part of my latest email not only appear on Andrew Sullivan's blog, but also even recognized by Andrew as "a nice point."

Andrew Sullivan's policy is to keep his reader comments anonymous, and I appreciate the reasons behind this policy. But that doesn't mean I myself can't brag a bit and expose myself as one of those readers he thought well enough of to give a little time and space on his highly trafficked blog! Here's the full content of the email letter I sent to Andrew with the part he cited highlighted in bold:

From: Huck, James D Jr.
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 12:51 PM
To: ''
Subject: LETTER: Georgia and the Cold Warriors

Andrew – You are absolutely on target in pointing out that the Russia of today is not the USSR of yesteryear, and that this should make all the difference in how we calculate our strategic response to the crisis. By all measures, Putin’s Russia is much more akin to the Authoritarian regimes that Kirkpatrick saw fit to embrace as the better of two evils in the Cold War struggle. Thinking on what you have written, I can’t help but ponder the similarities between Russia’s current behavior and those of the Authoritarian regimes of South America of the 1970s and 1980s and their infamous National Security Doctrines, which tended to treated upstarts complaining about the lack of respect for human rights and democratic politics as threats to a broader nationalist project that needed to be put into place if not eradicated by brute shows of military force and repression. The U.S., unable to see these upstarts in Latin America beyond the prism of communism, when most of them simply wanted a respect for human rights and democratic practices, turned a blind eye towards their brutal repression by the authoritarian autocrats who ruled their countries. At one level, what Russia is doing to the provoking upstarts of democratic Georgia is intolerable and reprehensible; but there was a time when the U.S. understood and embraced regimes for doing precisely that. I suspect that if Georgia’s democracy was one that had even the whiff of Islamic nationalist tendencies, the response to the nationalist aggressions of the non-Islamic authoritarians of Russia would be treated much differently.

Jimmy Huck
Maybe the first part of my comment is a bit of a stretch, though I think it has some merit. But I have to admit to being a bit proud and tickled that Andrew Sullivan thought my concluding sentence was "a nice point."

[And, yes, I know there are a couple of grammatical/spelling errors in my letter - "treated" should be just "treat" and perhaps I might have used the subjunctive mood in that final sentence Andrew cited - but I figured that it would be honest to print what actually got sent to Andrew Sullivan rather than put up a post-facto edited version of what, in editorial retrospect, I wish had been sent. But, so it is!]

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