Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Los Angeles Times
December 2, 2001
U.S. and Russia Enjoy Mutual Interests

Eric Margolis' Nov. 28 commentary proclaims that "Russia Checkmated Its New Best Friend," that is, U.S. global interests and, specifically, those in Central Asia. Margolis claims that Russia has presently achieved victory in Afghanistan through its proxy, the Northern Alliance, resulting in the U.S. and Pakistan being cut off from Central Asian resources, specifically the oil-rich Caspian Basin.

These conclusions are based on unsupportable and unreasonable assumptions. The false premise is that Russian interests are diametrically opposite to those of the U.S. both globally and regionally. This is just plain wrong.

Even limiting the sphere of U.S.-Russian interaction only to oil matters, Russia, Azerbaijan or any country carrying the pipeline would be vitally interested in protecting the supply route of oil to its consumers, chiefly the United States and Western Europe. So far, no safe pipeline route has been found through Chechnya, Georgia, Abkhazia or Iran. Margolis calls U.S. support of the Northern Alliance an enormous blunder. He is wrong not only because there was no other force to rely on but because of the positive long-range possibilities engendered by our coalition-building efforts.

First, there is a clear-cut area of mutual cooperation and collective security between the oil-producing, oil-consuming and oil-transporting countries in the region. Second, a pipeline through Afghanistan (if one is built) will create a stable flow of revenue and jobs, stimulate economic development and create a firmer basis for U.S.-Russian cooperation than the one that Margolis put forward.

Boris Gorbis
Beverly Hills

Back to the Top    Next Article