Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Both Ways

It's interesting, and instructive, to observe how Putin's government and its backers continue to attempt to manipulate Western public opinion over the matter of Russia's supposed participation in the international war on terror. On April 5, the Financial Times carried a comment article by two US-based Kremlin apologists, Nikolas Gvosdev and Dimitri Simes, who claimed that "America cannot have it both ways with Russia" - in other words that the US must decide whether "pursuing a new containment of Russia in Eurasia" is a higher priority than "forging an effective coalition of the permanent five members of the Security Council on Iran's nuclear programme." After all, the article's authors commented,
even though Russia and the US both have been targeted by al-Qaeda, the post-1999 chill on relations precluded any joint action in dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to September 11 2001 - as Mr Putin himself had proposed.
The assertion that Russia has been "targeted by Al Qaeda" is slipped into the discourse unobtrusively, and without an attempt at substantiation. As Jeremy Putley has noted, Russia has indeed suffered at the hands of terrorists, but there are no proper grounds for saying al-Qaeda was involved.

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