Why it’s Russia.

No one ought to begrudge Russia the right to defend its civilian population, or to pre-emptively act to prevent another atrocity like Beslan from occurring. But given that even many American hawks aren’t entirely comfortable with Putin’s policies in attempting to subdue Chechnya, I don’t think that we can see the political cover the Bush Doctrine provides the Russians as a good thing at all. The prospects for Russian democracy and its coexistence with former satellites depends on the development of a political culture centered on consistent, open, and democratic norms. Providing Russia’s leaders with an excuse to adopt a doctrine that blurs the line between pre-emptive and preventive war and emphasizes military solutions is a definitely a step in the wrong direction.