A week ago I wrote an article on the Georgian conflict titled “Eastern Promises.” In the article, I described the rhetoric being trotted out by foreign policy hawks to justify a hard stance against Russia, dismissed their narrative as flawed, and then argued for why even if the narrative was correct, it would be in U.S. interests to engage Russia diplomatically rather than revert to a Cold War us-them mentality.
Last Thursday, Anurag Maheshwari wrote a response piece that called me an extremist neoconservative, blinded by my hatred for human civilization. He incorrectly surmised that I wanted to extend NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine — it appears that Mr. Maheshwari did not care to read beyond the first paragraph of my piece before launching into insults. While I might not be as isolationist as Mr. Maheshwari, who seems to believe that any American involvement anywhere around the world is evidence of imperialistic aims, my basic argument, that we have more to gain by cooperating with Russia than playing brinksmanship, is a far cry from neoconservatism.
Beyond his piffle about American Empire and how “our controlled media propagates lies,” and despite his tragic misreading of my piece, Mr. Maheshwari has hit the nail on the head when it comes to detailing the flaws in the simplistic narrative of Georgia as a damsel in distress. To his account of the nuanced history between Russia and its satellites, I would only add that our recent decision to base missile defense sites and radars in Eastern Europe has unnecessarily heightened tensions — not only is missile defense a technologically impractical goal, but Russia’s offer to have the sites based in Azerbaijan was perfectly reasonable — Azerbaijan’s proximity to Iran would have made it a superior site for shooting down Iranian missiles.
Keith Yost is a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and the Engineering Systems Division.