Death, taxes, and The Nation‘s desire to further the interests of Russian autocrats, to name but a few. The magazine’s lead editorial this week is a thing to behold. Entitled “Neocon NATO Delusions,” it purports to tell the story of how
many neoconservative and neoliberal hawks, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, see Bush’s globalized NATO as the forerunner of a concert of democracies that will replace the UN.
The Nation is purportedly a progressive magazine. Yet it stands opposed to an emergent “concert of democracies.” Why on earth? Because this “globalized NATO” threatens to “encircl[e] Russia and sidelin[e] the United Nations.”
Sound familiar? Russia’s argument against NATO expansion runs along the same lines. But this is hardly the first time the magazine has made Vladimir Putin’s case for him. In a recent essay, contributing editor Robert Dreyfuss complained about John McCain’s calls for an “expanded NATO that will bump up against Russian interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus.” Strange that such a stridently progressive magazine would sympathize with a government that kills journalists and imprisons dissidents. (Or a political figure like Putin, who has enjoyed for the most part unmixed support from George W. Bush.)
In an excellent essay in the current New Republic, Robert Kagan lays out how “autocracy is making a comeback.” Rather than working through international organizations like the United Nations, Russia (and China) are using them to delay international action on issues including the ongoing genocide in Darfur, the humanitarian catastrophe in Zimbabwe, the repression in Burma, and sanctioning Iran. And Putin has personally decried liberal groups (like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) as “vulgar institutions.”
In an uncertain world, though, it’s nice to know that some things never change: The Nation is still a collection of useful idiots serving the cause of tyranny.