By Ray McGovern
Today proved to be unfortunate timing for NY Times op-ed writer Professor Chris Miller of Tuft’s Fletcher School, who paints an academic veneer onto L’Affaire Navalny, just as Amnesty International downgrades his status.
Miller begins: “After the imprisonment this month of the opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, punishing Russia is back on the agenda.” [Emphasis added.] (See: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/25/opinion/nord-stream-2-navalny.html .) Had the professor done his homework, rather than simply regurgitate mainstream media memes on the misfortune that has befallen the dissident/cum great-white-hope Navalny, Miller could have readily known that Navalny is a weak reed to lean on to “punish Russia”. No matter: On the hallowed pages of the NY Times Navalny has been able to outlive his checkered past — so far, at least.
Amnesty: Delete “Prisoner of Conscience”
Just as Miller’s op-ed was being published, Amnesty International, which had finally done its own homework (better late than never), stripped Navalny of his “prisoner of conscience” status. AI had been bombarded with complaints about his xenophobia — in one video he compares immigrants to cockroaches, and pretends to shoot one (immigrant, not cockroach). Amnesty has now labeled that “hate speech” and found that incompatible with the label “prisoner of conscience”.
Pipe Dream About a Pipeline
Professor Miller suggests that the imprisonment of Navalny “has thrown open the question” of the Nord Stream 2 project, the almost-completed pipeline under the Baltic Sea that is almost complete and will bring more natural gas from Russia to Germany. Miller concedes that “canceling the project as punishment for Mr. Navalny’s treatment (sic) is unlikely to achieve much…”, and concludes with “a simple truth: When it comes to dealing with Russia, there are very few good options”.
There are some good options, but you will not find them discussed very much in the NY Times or, sadly, in academia. These, and related issues were discussed in a less conventional way earlier today when I was interviewed by The Critical Hour.