Whew! Good to have the internet whirring along like it is supposed to. No more frozen face or garbled voice. The Judge was intrigued by my latest diatribe on the nuttiness of CIA Director Bill Burns. Guys like Burns befuddle me. He has a gold-plated education. He does not present as a raving lunatic. And he wrote a very sane, accurate cable from Moscow when he was posted there as the U.S. Ambassador. He, better than most, knows first hand that Russia is not a Potemkin Village masquerading as a nation. Russia is a serious country with robust military and industrial capabilities, not to mention having oodles of functioning nukes.
What happened to the Bill Burns of 2008? Here is the summary paragraph of the cable he sent to Washington (published on the internet thanks to Wikileaks). He nailed it:
Summary. Following a muted first reaction to Ukraine’s intent to seek a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Bucharest summit (ref A), Foreign Minister Lavrov and other senior officials have reiterated strong opposition, stressing that Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains “an emotional and neuralgic” issue for Russia, but strategic policy considerations also underlie strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia. In Ukraine, these include fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene. Additionally, the GOR and experts continue to claim that Ukrainian NATO membership would have a major impact on Russia’s defense industry, Russian-Ukrainian family connections, and bilateral relations generally. In Georgia, the GOR fears continued instability and “provocative acts” in the separatist regions. End summary.
That was then. Now we have crazy. I encourage you to read the full cable to appreciate Burns volte face at the Ditchfield Lecture.