So the Russians are burying their dead. Lots of people are going to be asking how this sort of thing could have happened, who’s to blame, who should lose their job for negligence. The same old story.
I’m not a big fan of the Russian daily Pravda. They pretty much sound like al Jazeera most of the time. No lie is too big if it smears the people you don’t agree with. Ever since the US first made noises to depose Saddam they’ve been giving Pres. Bush and Tony Blair both barrels. The main thrust of their arguement is that Russia has superior knowledge of the Middle East and we’re idiots not to listen to Russia.
Not that Putin has made things easy for us. He’s not been very supportive of our efforts in iraq, to say the least.
But now the Russians have had a mass killing by terrorists. Hundreds of children are dead. Putin has vowed to finally deal with the corruption that’s rampant in Russia’s military and internal security forces in order to combat the terrorists.
There’s been some developments in the past few days that are heartening but not too surprising. First off, StrategyPage.com reports that Russia has penned a deal with Israel in order to cooperate as far as intel on terrorist organizations. (Entry dated September 7, 2004.) I can’t find confirmation anywhere else, though. But, if it’s true, it’s a great first step.
Next, Putin called a press conference specifically for foreign (non-Russian) journalists. Putin said that there will be no negotiating with “people who are child killers”, and that “people who call for talks with Chechen leaders have no conscience.” He has sworn to bring “total war” to the terrorists.
This is a dig at the European Union, who have been asking why the Russians have allowed the violence in Chechnya to continue. Nothing like being criticized by people with no freakin’ clue to get the Russian’s fur up.
So what does this mean? Is it possible that Russia will use some of those nukes left over from the Cold War?
Probably not. That would really make the Americans and British upset. That’s also why Russian military atrocities against civilians, even if they’re supporters of terrorist gangs, will probably be relatively rare. But the Russian troops aren’t as well trained or equipped as US soldiers, and I expect that things will get out of hand somewhere. A few naked prisoners at Abu Ghraib will seem like a vacation at Disneyworld.
I could be wrong about this, and I certainly hope that I am.
This might also swing Russian attitudes around so they’ll view our efforts in Iraq in a more favorable light. But it’s very important to realize that any direction Russia decides to go will always be dictated by Russian interests and not our own. Even if Moscow decides to lend more support in the War on Terror they’ll be focusing on their own internal problems. Don’t expect 20,000 Russian troops to suddenly gear up and head for Iraq.
Just a personal note. I’ve always been annoyed by the way the media here in the US harp and complain and write negative op-eds even if the government is obviously doing the right thing. They seem to think that being negative is actually noble even if they sound like barking moonbats. Now Pravda, that former mouthpiece of Communist strongmen, is doing the same thing.
Seems like they’ve made great advances in the past few years. An op-ed like that just 20 years ago would have earned the editor an unmarked grave.