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why, oh why, does our media have to fall for it hook, line and sinker?

Exactly what I was wondering earlier this evening after watching Bernard Kouchner on France3 News. The anchorperson (Catherine Matausch) was wound up like a clockwork tank, interrupting, hounding him, because of course it was known he was now on the side, with the Germans, of calming things down. She wanted to know, after what Brown had said (see above), what courage the EU was going to show faced with Russia, and it was obvious to her "we" were going to back down as usual. Kouchner temporized and sidestepped, while she was really surprising: she seemed to have decided it was a matter of principle that she was going to harass the Foreign Minister because "we" were being too weak.

The terribly obvious thing was that she was sincere. Just as was Pierre Weill on France Inter last week, harassing Dimitry Rogozhin before the NATO meeting in Brussels.

How does this happen? How do they forget (or relativize) Kosovo or Iraq, how do they sideline the deliberate Georgian aggression? It would be interesting to have a conversation with these people and ask them that question.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:28:52 PM EST
They read the news. Which mostly says whatthe powers-that-be want it to say, if only because they repeat it enough, and have enough "serious" pundits repeating it in parallel.

I linked to the Philip Stephens article on Russia in yesterday's OT, but here it is again:

Putin maps the boundaries of greater Russia

We need to get this straight. Vladimir Putin's Russia has invaded a neighbour, annexed territory and put in place a partial military occupation. It seeks to overthrow the president of Georgia and to overturn the global geopolitical order. It has repudiated its signature on a ceasefire negotiated by France's Nicolas Sarkozy and disowned its frequent affirmations of Georgia's territorial integrity. Most importantly: all of this is our fault.

The "our" in this context, of course, refers to the US and the more headstrong of its European allies such as Britain. If only Washington had been nicer to the Russians after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If only the west had not humiliated Moscow after the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Surely we can see now what a provocation it was to allow the former vassal states of the Soviet empire to exercise their democratic choice to join the community of nations? And what of permitting them to shelter under Nato's security umbrella and to seek prosperity for their peoples in the European Union? Nothing, surely, could have been more calculated to squander the post-cold-war peace.


Moscow's invasion of Georgia and its public scorn at the likely international response speaks to an entirely different mindset: a retreat from integration and a preference for force over rules. Russia's neighbours are told they can be vassals or enemies. Mr Medvedev boasts Russia is ready for another cold war.

I struggle to see what Russia will gain. It is friendless. Governments and foreign investors alike now know that Moscow's word is worthless. The price of aggression will be pariah status. Mr Putin, of course, will blame the west.

I usually expect better from Philip Stephens. There is no mention of Iras, Kosovo or Saakashvili's aggression.


But when he, and the Economist write these things, lesser journalists follow the cues and repeat the same line.

(I haven't read the Economist for 3 weeks. I found the last 3 in my mail this morning, upon returning home, and fear what I will find)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 03:37:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched that too, incredulously. The sheer stupidity of her position...

Now, in a way Kouchner asked for it. I mean, if one day he accuses Russia of preparing to invade Ukraine, what can he expect when he has to answer questions later on ?

I'd like to hide in a deserted island somewhere. Talk to the crabs for a while, I'm sure they make more sense.

by balbuz on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 at 04:37:59 PM EST
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