Saturday, November 25, 2006

Falling Dominoes

Yesterday, as Mr Putin sat in Helsinki with EU top officials, the Russian government announced that it has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defence missile systems to Iran.

Examining the implications of Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning for the rest of the world in an article written before Litvinenko’s death, J.R. Nyquist expresses little surprise about Russia’s global strategy, which be believes has altered little since Cold War days [hat tip: Marko]:

A man brave enough to risk his life to warn others, to lay an accusation against the most dangerous criminals in the world, deserves to be taken seriously. But the fact that his message has been systematically ignored, that no newspaper or politician will discuss his testimony concerning Ayman al-Zawahiri, is a sociological artifact of great significance. The Kremlin’s grand deception strategy has been effective, and there is no danger that the West will figure it out, because the truth is economically inconvenient for politicians and businessmen alike. Things have advanced so far that the Kremlin sees no danger in murdering people outright, as in the days of Stalin. In this way a message is sent to all writers, and all those with bits and pieces of the great puzzle.

The Russian strategy should be obvious by now. We know that China and Iran are being armed with Russian weapons – including Russian nuclear technology. Such moves deserve an explanation, but nobody wants an honest discussion of the problem. Given the economic logic of U.S. statesmanship, a confrontation with Russia is to be avoided. The Left/Right political divide paralyzes any and all realistic analysis because one side of this political divide is incapable of acknowledging a Russian threat while the other has attached itself to claims of victory and the prospect of “open” markets in “former” communist lands. We know that Russia is working to form various alliances with countries like Brazil, India, Venezuela, etc. We know that Russia and China have formed an intimate partnership, that they have conducted joint military exercises, and that China has been cultivating Mexico as a strategic partner. The balance of power is shifting, perhaps decisively, and the results of that shift may soon become apparent to everyone. The Iranian nuclear crisis serves to dramatize this shift. Three years ago President Bush would have bombed Iran. Today he is timid, hesitant and beleaguered. Many of the president’s supporters have turned against him. Perhaps President Bush realizes that a preemptive attack on Iran will divide the United States politically, with further consequences to the Republican Party.

Looking back at the long row of fallen dominoes, from South Africa and the Congo to Venezuela and Germany, the fall of the Israeli domino stands in prospect. The Israelis believe the neutralization of Iran’s nuclear project is essential to Israel’s security. Israeli analysts are already warning that Iran could destroy Israel without launching a single nuclear weapon, because many Israelis will leave Israel if Iran becomes a nuclear power. The morale of the Jewish state would suffer a crippling blow. But the plight of Israel does not move the American public. Just as the American consumer abandoned Vietnam to the Communists, some believe that Israel will be abandoned to the Islamists. Many observers expect that the Americans will not remain loyal to their allies, choosing instead to “cut and run” when things become difficult. After all, it was the Americans who abandoned Southeast Asia. It was the Americans who pushed for the Communist takeover of Rhodesia, and the Communist-ANC takeover of South Africa; and who allowed the Communist victories in Angola and Congo. The African Communists have won the long war for the mineral rich sub-Saharan region. And the Americans don’t care in the least. In fact, we are about to watch the United States Congress cut the legs out from under the government of Colombia as it struggles to contain a growing Communist insurgency.

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