#10 - JRL 7129
Subject: Re 'If Iraq Wins, Russia Loses' by Andrei Piontkovsky in Johnson's Russia list #7127
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 1
From: "Igor Biryukov" <BiryukovI@tomsnyder.com>
Mr. Piontkovsky writes about dangers of 'the current anti-American frenzy'. I agree, anything 'frenzied' in international relations is unwise. But from my perspective (I live in Boston, Massachusetts), it doesn't look like frenzy. My view is that there is very little in Russian media that is not present in European or world-wide media. The accents are put differently for sure, but there are people here in US, who are also very angry at the 'hawkish' policies of Washington 'neo-conservatives' represented by Rumsfield, Cheney, and Wolfovitz. Certainly Russia should carefully evaluate the risks of opposing US polices and be ready for possible backlash. Putin should make sure that he is opposing very specific policies and not challenging US 'right to live'. Still, the risk may be high, even too high for some. But to my view, the risks of doing nothing is even higher. Russia should convey to the US a sense that major threat to USA and Russia in this post-communist world comes not from 'rouge' states, but from absence or failure of state control and order. In was demonstrated in Afghanistan. Russia had a bitter taste of it in Chechnya. Many parts of Africa, Middle East, Latin America, Indian subcontinent, and Balkans has become or becoming breeding grounds for terrorists. This has happened exactly because a failure of modern state or absence of state - any state 'rogue' or otherwise 'civilized'. And now the US is destroying Iraqi state, which used to give some cohesion to the region. It is clear that the threats to Russias national security are closely linked to repetitive failures of modern state to survive in the post-cold war world. Russia's strategy should be focused on maintaining order and stability near her borders via support of existing independent states, which are the only barriers against the wave of anarchy, social upheaval, and religious fundamentalism. Russia should discourage US from neoconservative-inspired foreign adventures which threaten fragile stability in the world. Clearly, Putin needs to maintain a delicate balance to have any influence over Bush. However, I know that diplomatic language has a very little leverage over Bush administration. In the end I am convinced that US neo-conservative course is incorrect and simply unsustainable. I believe that after Iraq the US will eventually go back to moderate isolation and refute radical neo-conservatism. This will be to everyone best interest, and Russia can help to encourage it, while maintaining a cool head.