Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sure Would Be Nice to Have a State Department Right Now

--By Pale Rider

If you lived through the time when we faced the Soviet bear--and it seems like a lifetime ago, I know--then when you see stories like this, it should make your blood boil:

MOSCOW - Former chess champion Garry Kasparov was convicted of leading an opposition protest and sentenced to five days in jail by a Moscow court Saturday.

Kasparov and dozens of other demonstrators were detained hours earlier after riot police clashed with Kremlin opponents following a protest rally that drew several thousand people.
The former chess champion was forced to the ground and beaten, his assistant Marina Litvinovich said in a telephone interview from outside the police station where Kasparov was held."What you've heard is all lies," Kasparov said after the sentence was read. "The testimony is contradictory. There was not a single word of truth."

Two riot police testified in court that they had been given direct orders before the rally to arrest Kasparov, one of President Vladimir Putin's harshest critics. One of the policemen acknowledged that the two reports he had filed were contradictory.

Kasparov was charged with organizing an unsanctioned procession "of at least 1,500 people directed against President Vladimir Putin," of chanting anti-government slogans and of resisting arrest.

It sure would be nice to have a goddamned State Department right now, wouldn't it? Because we need a tough legion of diplomats to start going after the Putin regime on all fronts, in all areas, and in every way possible. We need to start squeezing them and engaging them and putting them in check, pun intended.

Unfortunately, we have a "Soviet" expert who has never gotten one thing right about Russia. We have Secretary Rice, shoe-shopping expert and blame shifting expert. Besides shoes and ducking responsibility for her inept management of the State Department, what is she good at? Piano? Sycophantic statements?

We have a serious problem brewing in Russia--who will succeed Putin? What will Russia continue to morph into?

Kasparov warned the world about Russia earlier this year when he told CBS News:

"We're facing a very dangerous regime that is threatening not only the future of my country but the stability of the whole world," Kasparov says.


"I would probably say that Putin doesn't run the country, he runs a corporation. Call it KGB Incorporated," Kasparov says. "He is working on behalf of the ruling elite that wants to benefit from looting the country."

So--again. What the fuck? Why do we continue to see nothing but incompetence from our State Department? Why are they not seriously engaged on this issue? Why have we not recalled our ambassador or done something-anything-to respond to this type of incident?

People say that if a Democrat is elected next year, that Ambassador Holbrooke will be the next Secretary of State, and that, somehow, that's a bad thing. Well, Holbrooke's worst day as Secretary of State will be better by a mile than Rice's best day.

Crossposted from Blue Girl, Red State