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The Week’s Most Interesting Reads

The Nixon Doctrine, polycentrism, and “credibility.” Mark Safranski recounts [1] the creation of the Nixon Doctrine and its relevance to contemporary debates.

Spying on Germany is wrecking the alliance. Jacob Heilbrunn describes [2] the backlash against ongoing revelations of aggressive U.S. espionage.

Australia’s Dangerous Allies. Jared McKinney reviews [3] the new book [4] by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Re-reading Waverley. Allan Massie comments [5] on the “first great Scottish novel.”

Mitt Romney was wrong all along. James Carden refutes [6] a silly defense of Romney’s foreign policy views.

Shevardnadze’s complicated legacy. Giorgi Lomsadze reflects [7] on the career of the former Soviet foreign minister and president of Georgia.

Sikorski and the U.S.-Polish alliance. David Hendrickson puts [8] the Polish foreign minister’s leaked remarks about the “worthless” alliance in the context of the Ukraine crisis.

How Russians see the last two decades. Mark Adomanis comments [9] on Russian public opinion.

Americans don’t plan for strategic disaster. Steven Metz identifies [10] a flaw in how Americans think about security. (WPR subscription only)

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3 Comments To "The Week’s Most Interesting Reads"

#1 Comment By Niccolo Salo On July 12, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

As always, thanks for the weekly roundup.

#2 Comment By philadelphialawyer On July 12, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

The Hendrickson article is quite interesting, and only reaffirms my belief that Poland, next to Israel, has become the most irritating and annoying US client or ally.

Poland begged for admission into NATO. And, once allowed in, its government has acted as a toady to the worst elements and tendencies of the US government, ie the bellicose, warmongering neo conservatives. Poland was on board with both the Iraqi and Afghani wars, its government was, anyway. Same with the “missile shield” and the “Maidan” charade. And now it seems to want to ramp up hostilities with Russia even further, and is crying like a little girl because the US has not agreed, nor held its hand more tightly.

The US must establish a big, expensive “base” in Poland. It must conduct provocative maneuvers in Russia’s near abroad. It must dig itself an even deeper hole in the Ukraine. Because, if it does not, well then Poland will not feel “safe,” and the NATO guarantee (which means, for all practical purposes, the US guarantee) will be “worthless.”

Frankly, it does me, as an American, little or no good that Poland was so willing to back the US neo cons in all their adventures. And sending a couple of thousand troops is not exactly a major commitment. Nor does it mean that Poland can now dictate to the USA how the USA chooses to fulfill its commitment to Poland.

Under the North Atlantic treaty, the USA is obliged (consistent with US constitutional procedures) to come to Poland’s defense, if it is attacked. The US is NOT obliged to “follow through” on the stupid and provocative “missile shield” plan, to build vast bases in Poland, to go on any further adventures in the Ukraine, and so on.

Poland is actually under no threat from anyone. And that most certainly includes Russia. A Russian attack on Poland would have been very, very unlikely, even without the NATO guarantee, but with that guarantee, it is almost metaphysically inconceivable.

That being the case, the Poles should shut up. The US has not “betrayed” them and they are in no danger. Nor are they in any position to start dictating terms to the USA. If they feel ill used at having foolishly and lap dog-ishly sent their troops to Iraq—-good! They should feel that way, not because the USA is not doing their bidding now in return, but because sending those troops was the act of a foolish, lap dog government in the first place.

If Poles really believe that their government has acted as some sort of sex slave to the USA, perhaps they should consider that the fault, at least in the first instance, lies with their government, and not with the USA.

#3 Comment By Barry On July 15, 2014 @ 8:50 am

Seconded, thirded and fourthed.