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Russian and the G8

5:16 PM, Apr 28, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Fareed Zakaria attacks McCain's talk of purging authoritarianism from the G8:

In his speech McCain proposed that the United States expel Russia from the G8, the group of advanced industrial countries. Moscow was included in this body in the 1990s to recognize and reward it for peacefully ending the cold war on Western terms, dismantling the Soviet empire and withdrawing from large chunks of the old Russian Empire as well. McCain also proposed that the United States should expand the G8 by taking in India and Brazil-but pointedly excluded China from the councils of power....

...What McCain has announced is momentous-that the United States should adopt a policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers. It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order, a policy that began under Richard Nixon (with Beijing) and continued under Ronald Reagan (with Moscow). It is a policy that would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war....

International groups are not cheerleading bodies but exist to help solve pressing global crises. Excluding countries won't make the problems go away.

Sure, but the G8 also serves to legitimize Putin's regime. No one has been a more vocal advocate for ejecting Russia from the group than Garry Kasparov, the country's most prominent democracy activist. For Zakaria to dismiss the idea with such disdain, as though the only effect would be to complicate global crises, is to ignore entirely the crisis that is Putin's Russia. The Bush administration has embraced "realism" in its dealings with Russia, and now we have proof that such policies have only strengthened Putin.

Does Zakaria believe there is no merit to Kasparov's position? Who knows? He doesn't even attempt to address it. Instead he makes it sound like only radical neoconservatives are troubled by Russia's inclusion in the group, rather than Russia's own repressed, democratic opposition.