Perhaps We Spoke Too Soon

I spent a large part of my time in the military facing down the Soviet military and the majority of my life under threat from Russian ICBM's. For that reason, the whole "glasnost" thing never really smacked of truth to me. It just felt like a ploy. Years of looking through binoculars at a people surrounded by barbed wire, mines, guard dogs and machinegun emplacements taught me the cruelty that these people were capable of. I was never able to blithely accept that they had changed their spots over night.

Sure, we won the cold war. We'd beaten them at the game, but there were no boots on the ground to ensure they stayed that way.

As time goes by I am seeing more and more that I was justified in my suspicion. Putin is reining in the political reforms that made us think they were moving toward an open and representative form of government, outlawing political organisations left and right that object to his policies. They've stymied every attempt at punishing the Iranian regime for thumbing its nose at international convention and decorum. Then comes this...

"He subsequently learnt from Iraqi, CIA and British intelligence that the WMD buried in the four sites were excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with help from the Russians, and moved to Syria. The location in Syria of this material, he says, is also known to these intelligence agencies." (source)

This isn't coming from some neo-con Bush stooge either. It is coming from David Gaubatz, a decorated intelligence agent who was on the ground in Saudi Arabia and Iraq attempting to locate Saddam's WMD stashes at the conclusion of the campaign to unseat Saddam. Other sources have corroborated his claims that WMD materials were moved to Syria in that time frame. (Just read the damned article without dismissing it outright.)

There have been other indications that Russia has not been exactly playing the part of our ally. There have been indications that Russia was supplying arms to Saddam's military right up until he was ejected from power. I've read reports from the ground that indicate that a new type of Russian anti-tank weapon designed to defeat the M1's advanced chobham armor was fired at our troops resulting in the first M1 destroyed to enemy fire during our initial push into Baghdad. In other words it would appear that the Russians were using Iraqi surrogates to test their new weapons. Further reports indicate that these same RPG 29's were supplied by Russia directly to Hezbollah(via Syria), where they inflicted the heavy casualties on the the IDF during the 2006 Israeli/Lebanese conflict that made that conflict so costly (per Haaretz article on 08/06/06). Further, Russian-made SA14 Gremlin and SA18 Grouse antiaircraft missiles have increasingly become available, smuggled in from Iran and turned on our helicopters with devastating effect. The claims are that Iran is purchasing these missiles on the black market or manufacturing clones domestically, but I just do not trust the Russians. It's just as plausible that these weapons are being shipped directly across the Russian/Iranian border with full knowledge that they will be handed over to enemy forces in Iraq.

Perhaps they consider it pay-back for American involvement in supplying Afghan resistance fighters, or maybe, they have simply changed tactics. Rather than taking the Americans on head-to-head they have just decided to allow surrogates to attack their enemy for them, relieving them of all the worries of an American nuclear counterstrike. In either case Russia is not the ally that they wish us to believe and we would be well served by being a bit more wary of their intentions. Perhaps the "openess" they meant with glasnost was for us to open up our defenses.

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