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August 05, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-08-05

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Mnndia Au st 5. ') 20 -T5a Mirhian -

A chess match: Russia, Iraq and the U.S
took the Chechen campaign, he has
BY DAvID LivsHiz won broad public support. Unlike Boris
Yeltsin, who was seen as responsible
Over the past few weeks, it has for the fall of the USSR, Putin is
become increasingly clear that the Bush viewed as someone who takes Russian
administration is intent on invading prestige seriously and would not allow
Iraq. Iraq's recent offer to allow UN Russia to be humiliated. While Yeltsin
inspectors in the nation did not satisfy was forced to act tough to demonstrate
President Bush, with even the adminis- Russian power, Putin is now able to sit
tration's doves ambivalent with the pro- on the sidelines. The second assump-
posal. Concurrently, detailed leaks tion is equally problematic. Iraq has
describing the invasion strategy have indeed been one of Russia's client states
been appearing in newspapers almost since the Baath Party came to power.
daily. Increasing anticipation of U.S. This relationship, however, does not
military action against Iraq has resulted imply that Russia will come to Iraq's
in a debate about the benefits that this aid. In Middle East policy, Russia has
action will produce. And as with the always stopped short of unconditional
case of the National Missile Defense support of her allies. In the past, Russia
debate last year, Russia's opposition to has always acted to protect her relation-
the proposed U.S. policy occupies a ship with the West before aiding allies
central role in the debate. in the Mid-East and as of yet there is no
* The invasion's opponents argue reason to believe that this conflict
that any attack against Iraq, a Russian would breed a different policy analysis
ally, will anger Russian leadership. in Moscow.
Invasion opponents add that President What makes Russia's support of
Putin's anger at Bush's actions is likely Iraq even less likely is what it stands to
to manifest itself in increasing Russian gain from acquiescing to the invasion.
aid to rouge regimes. Since Russia's The single most important issue to
role is central to the debate over the Putin is the war in Chechnya that he
costs and benefits of invading Iraq, this sees as critical to the survival of the
argument should be examined in full. Russian Federation. Many feel that if
Those who argue that Russia will Chechnya is allowed to secede from the
oppose any U.S. military actions base federation others will follow, creating a
their argument on two assumptions. domino effect that will eventually lead
The first is that the Russian leadership to a small, impotent Russia. This is why
is likely to see any unilateral action in Russia has turned to increasingly brutal
Iraq as arrogant behavior designed to military operation in Chechaya to pt
embarrass Russia. This resentment is dowathe reellion.
likely to evolve into tensions between Putin feels that if he is allowed to
the Russian and U.S. governments. Left pursue his war in Chechnya; Russia
unspoken in these arguments is the will eventually win. The one thing that
assumption that Putin is under pressure can stop him: Vocal criticisms by the
from Russian hardliners to demonstrate United States and the international
that Russia is still a major power The community. So far, America has chose
second is that Russia will oppose the to remain quiet in its critique of Rus-
Iraq invasion in orderto protectherally, sia's military behavior, and the rest of
thereby demonstrating her influence in the world has played along. However,
the world. Putin understands that a Bush decision
Unfortunately, both of these to pressure Russia might cause not only
assumptions are incorrect. The view diplomatic problems with the West, but
that Russia has a deteriorating military also increase domestic opposition to the
and a floundering economy is simply war. Putin has therefore been very
wrong. First, the image of Russia as a eager to find a way to silence American
third world economy is false. While criticism of his war. Russia's coopera-
Russia's economy collapsed in the early tion with Bush on the development of
'90s, over the past few years Russia has the NMD was largely a result of a tacit
made a comeback and is now consid- agreement whereby the United States
ered a first world economy. Second, would look the other way on Chechnya,
Russia's military is not as weak as while Russia would agree to the U.S.
many claim. After the fall ofthe USSR, abrogation of the ABM treaty. With
it did appear that the Red Army was not Russia's war in Chechnya drawing
as powerful as before. However, in the a a i y at
patfwyasthe Rassian military has icesncrtimislklyha
returned as one of the most sophisticat- Sven a hoice to suppois in iion and
ed and powerful armies in the world. .
The Second Chechnya War, while it foi r e f' ch ss rep r o
can't be termed an absolute success, quite a fondness for
has proven that the Russian military is ly thinks of international affairs as a
capable of carrying out sophisticated chess game. When the issue in question
operations. Moreover, the recent unveil- Iraq, might choose to scrifice
ing of advanced weapon systems has a queen (Iraq) to win the game (secure
demonstrated that Russia is still a top- support for Russia's war in Chechnya
notch military power. This new image while maintaining good relations with
of a powerful Russia, held by ordinary the West). This doesn't mean that Ru-s
Russias and internatiomi military pro- sia will necessarnly support the invasion
fessionals alike, has largely erased the or that the invasion is advisable even if
same felt by many Russians in the it does. But to get a clearer understand-
aftermath of the Cold War and thereby ing of what the invasion will entail, we
weakened the influence of the ultra- need to helter understand all the
right in Russia. assumptions and intricacies that are
Furthermore. Putin is not under likely to go into the decision.

MlUy, g rutU, e c gan ft aVI;lpf Uly --J
The DLC's twisted ascent to prominence

Tn Manhattan last
week, the best and
the brightest of
the Democratic Party
gathered to take part
in the Democratic
Leadership Council's
National Conversa-
tion. The conference
took on extra signifi-
cance this year with presidential hopefuls
jockeying for recognition over others in
the lackluster field. The conversation was
a propitious moment for 2004's presiden-
tial aspirants to pander to the DLC elite.
DLC CEO and founder Al From and
Democratic National Committee Chair-
man Terry McAuliffe presided over this
grim spectacle, unrepentantly abandoning
the Democratic Party's spirit.
The DLC has made itself the self-
appointed gatekeeper of the Democratic
Party. Following former President Clinton's
longshot rise to the presidency, the DLC
became the panacea for the party's short-
comings. Their ideas were gospel, their
rhetoric unchallenged. Although the Gin-
grich revolution provided a temporary
obstacle, the DLC was able to secure the
reelection of a Democratic chief executive
for the first time in over 50 years. The DLC
offered the solutions for an increasingly des-
perate political apparatus and the Democrat-
ic Party's big city and rural constituents
followed into the DLC's fold.
But beneath the DLC's successes, dis-
content is festering. The DLC's sorties to
corporations and the political center have

let the party emasculated from its tradi-
tional base. The DLC's modus operari is to
create a successful party, principles be
damned. "We need to constantly modernize
our policy ideas to keep pace with a chang-
ing electorate" was one of From's key ini-
tiatives that he articulated at the National
The political repercussions of this unin-
spiring mindset showed in a 2000 election in
which the DLC-approved presidential ticket
failed to win a single Southern state. The
DLC's platform was an uninspiring and
incoherent collection of ideas designed for
the sole purpose of winning a nation-wide
election. But when a vice president who
enjoyed a strong economy is unable to win
his home state or that of his president in the
general election, there is a serious problem
with their message.
For the DLC the failure of the Gore-
Lieberman campaign was that the 2000
presidential ticket was too liberal. In a pre-
sentation to the National Conversation,
DLC pollster Mark Penn argued that the
2004 candidate will have to generate
appeal to more conservative voters. High-
lights of this strategy include emphasizing
the candidates' support of the death penal-
ty and attempting to persuade "Swing II"
voters to embrace the Democratic Party.
Swing II voters are characterized as "fis-
cally conservative" and "responsibility ori-
ented." The DLC's unctuous attempts to
sway moderates and conservatives in to its
base has resulted in a party that can no
longer claim to be the unchallenged advo-
cates of a progressive agenda.

Al Gore, as he illustrated in yesterday's
New York Times op-ed page, is now the lib-
eral black sheep of the Democratic Party.
Gore, following the advice of campaign
guru Bob Shrum, has tentatively decided to
renounce his DLC roots and once again
remake himself While his decision to "let it
rip" is a duplicitous last ditch effort to seek
the glory of the Oval Office, it is promising
that someone with extensive ties to the DLC
has recognized its sham promises. The
recent spat between Gore and Lieberman is
indicative of the growing divide in the high-
est level of the party. The extent of the
DLC's power and whether the Democratic
Party can be salvaged will likely be clear by
the time the 2004 conventions.
Ten years ago, Mickey Kaus penned
"The End of Equality," an intricately crafted
argument for social equality. Kaus attacked
the Democratic establishment and plead for
a new direction for the party. He portrayed a
party in a deep crisis, paralyzed in the past.
Despite the party's inability to earn nation-
wide support, the Democratic Party had
been able to secure a majority in the House
and Senate for decades. The failure to win a
presidential election lead the party to accept
the message of the upstart DLC. Ten years
after Clinton's election, the new ideas of the
DLC have proven to be an ineffective tool
for the longterm health of the party. The
DNC has abandoned its purpose for the
thrill of power during a fleeting Democratic
Zac Peskowitz can be reached at

Support David Bonior in tomorrow's primary

As a supporter of Rep. David
Bonior (D-Mt.Clemens) I was disap-
pointed in seeing the Daily's endorse-
ment of Jennifer Granholm,
"Granholm, by a nose" (07/29/02).
Even more troubling than the
endorsement itself, however, was the
reasoning, or lack thereof, in the
endorsement. The Daily seems to
think that because Granholm is from
Harvard and is young, she holds the
most promise. Not a single issue or
position of Granholm's is discussed in
the Daily's endorserment. But this
should not come as a surprise, as
Granholm is a listless, ineffective,
and agenda-less candidate.
She waffles on the issues-and does
not campaign with a clear and
focused agenda. In fact, she waffles
greatly on the issue of abortion. In a
recent Detroit Free Press question-
naire, Attorney General Granholm
refused to answer 3 out of I1 ques-
tions about her views on various
aspects of abortion. This is quite odd
given her EMILY's List backing,
which supposedly is only for strong
abortion-rights candidates.
While the Daily blasts Bonior on
abortion, it doesn't even bother to men-
tion Granholm's questionable stance on
the issue. Further, had the Daily done
some research, it would have found
that Bonior's running mate, state Rep.

Alma Wheeler Smith, is an unques-
tionable supporter of abortion rights.
Further, Bonior supports a
woman's right to an abortion in the
cases of rape, incest or when the
woman's life is in danger. Also,
Bonior has supported federal funding
for the testing of RU-486.
While the Daily spent half of its
column telling us why Granholm is the
most experienced candidate, it did not
inform voters of her positions. In sid-
ing with Granholm, there was no clear
explanation of why she is the best can-
didate. The best the Daily could offer
was that Blanchard was too old and
that Bonior was pro-life and too far
behind in the polls. In two recent
polls, though, a near dead heat among
all three candidates has been docu-
mented. The Daily should not mislead
voters on such important issues and
should check out its facts, which clear-
ly was not done in this case.
Further, the Daily failed to men-
tion that David Bonior has been
endorsed by the state's most influen-
tial labor unions and environmental
groups as the only choice for gover-
nor. He is recognized as a national
leader in the fights for workers rights
and environmental quality. In a state
like Michigan, where labor and the
environment represent two of the
most salient political issues, a leader
with a clear voice on these issues is
needed. David Bonior believes in the
right to unionize, the right to a secure

pension and health care for all of
Michigan's children. While Jennifer
Granholm has acted as a rubber
stamp for the Engler administration
by refusing to stand up to their
extreme right-wing agenda, David
Bonior has been the majority whip in
the House, and has stood up to former
Rep. Newt Gingrich (D-Georgia,)
helping to force his ouster.
Granholm, on the other hand, has
voted with Republican Gov. Engler on
the State Administrative Board
16,000 times and only against him
once. Granholm has refused to fight
for Democratic ideals. David Bonior
has national experience and will be
able to use his Washington, D.C. con-
nections to help direct federal fund-
ing back to Michigan. While the
Daily might like to believe that
Granholm can do the most for
Detroit, it is Bonior who has been
endorsed by Detroit's congressional
representatives. Itis Bonior who grew
up in east Detroit. And it is Bonior
who is fighting for more universal
health care and workers rights, issues
that most affect Detroit residents.
While Granholm may be young and
appealing, she has proven ineffective
as attorney general and has not been
able to tell voters what she believes
in. David Bonior, on the other hand,
is a proven leader. I urge you to vote
for David Bonior tomorrow, Aug. 6th.
Cook is an LSA senior

pressure from hardliners that plagued
his predecessor. Ever since Putin under-

Livshiz is an University alum.

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