Former U.S. Ambassador: Russia Responding to Years of U.S. Hostility

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31/03/2014 by Don Quijones

In an interview with the American independent media outlet Democracy Now (featured below) Jack Matlock, the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow from 1987 to 1991, offers a rare voice of sanity and reason on unfolding developments in the Ukraine.

Here’s a collection of the juiciest quotes from the interview:

— The Russian government, the Russian president and many of the Russian people (are responding to what they) feel has been a pattern of American activity that has been hostile to Russia and has simply disregarded their national interests.

— In the Orange Revolution in Kiev, foreigners, including Americans, were very active in organizing people and inspiring them. Now, you know, I have to ask Americans: How would Occupy Wall Street have looked if you had foreigners out there leading them? Do you think that would have helped them get their point across? I don’t think so.

— As George Kennan wrote back in the ’90s when this question came up, the decision to expand NATO the way it was done was one of the most fateful and bad decisions of the late 20th century.

— The fact is, Russia now has returned Crimea to Russia. It has, for  most of its recent history, in the last couple of centuries, been Russian. The majority of the people are Russian. They clearly would prefer to be in Russia. And the bottom line is, we can argue ’til doomsday over who did what and why and who was the legal owner and who was not—I’m sure historians generations from now will still be arguing it—but the fact is, Russia now is not going to give up Crimea.

— I just hope everyone can calm down and look at realities and stop trying to start some sort of new Cold War over this. As compared to the issues of the Cold War, this is quite minor. It has many of the characteristics of a family dispute. And when outsiders get into a family dispute, they’re usually not very helpful.

—  I think Russian media have exaggerated the right-wing threat [in Ukraine]. On the other hand, those who have ignored it, I think, are making a big mistake… many of these things are not nearly as black and white, when we begin to look at them, as is implied in much of the rhetoric that we’re hearing.




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