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Russia: Ally or Enemy?

Toby Westerman

The United States must soon decide if the "new," "market-oriented" Russia is a close friend or deadly foe. At present, U.S. policy seems intent upon placing its trust in a government in Moscow which is attempting to destroy freedom in Ukraine, Russia's neighbor to the West.

Ironically, while Russian President Vladimir Putin boasts of his nation's development of new ballistic missiles which have the potential to strike the United States, and official Russian policy seeks to undermine Ukrainian independence, the U.S. has chosen to increase exchanges of intelligence reports with Moscow.

The FBI and Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) recently signed a "memorandum of cooperation" which insures greater mutual assistance in the war on terror. The "memorandum" is considered an important milestone in an envisioned ladder of cooperative efforts between Washington and Moscow.

The signing ceremony took place on Monday, December 6, 2004 at FSB headquarters in Moscow. Director Robert Mueller and FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev signed the document on behalf of their respective nations. "I think the signing of the memorandum will allow our officers and experts to work more efficiently," Patrushev stated, according to a recent report from Itar-Tass.

The agreement between the FBI and FSB comes at a time when U.S. investors and government personnel are looking to Russia for profits and a stable source of oil.

Moscow's latest series of acts and official statements, however, do not indicate that that the Russian elite are interested in making the world stable for the American economy.

Police face Supporters Yushchenko

Above, police face supporters of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko who rally outside the parliament building in central Kiev, December 8, 2004. Below, a re-run election challenges Putin's favorite, Viktor Yanukovych
Reuters, December 8, 2004, Time, December 6, 2004

Putins favored Viktor Yanukovych
On the same day the FBI-FSB agreement was reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced what he termed "Western colonialization" in Ukraine. Putin's remarks were made in response to U.S. and E.U. condemnations of the fraudulent Ukrainian election which attempted to put into power Moscow's favored presidential candidate.

Moscow also issued an outlandish statement declaring that the only real support for the opposition came from U.S.-inspired agitators, according to the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.

Shortly before issuing his statements on the Ukrainian election, Putin boasted of the development of a new generation of highly accurate, city-killing missiles.

Putin's Russia continues to follow the policy of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, in assisting Communist China's remarkable - and expensive - modernization of its armed forces.

The latest of China's military accomplishments is a missile-carrying submarine, which is based upon Russian technology. The new 094-class submarine is capable of carrying an underwater launch version of the DF-31, China's latest ballistic missile. The new sub can both deliver devastating strikes against the target island democracy of Taiwan, and act as a nuclear deterrent to U.S. naval forces which might attempt to aid Taiwanese resistance to a Chinese attack.

Putin's Russia continues to aid every anti-American state, from North Korea to Cuba.

In Latin America alone, America's "backyard," Russia's influence is rapidly growing. Moscow intends to export helicopters, anti-tank weaponry, and thousands of assault rifles to oil-rich, Marxist-oriented Venezuela. A technological pact with Brazil includes nuclear development as well as general military assistance, and Moscow's old friend, Communist Cuba, is designated as a "key player" in Latin American affairs.

The words and actions of Putin and the government he leads may be closer to a determined, threatening rival than that of a dependable friend -- a stark, cold reality which U.S. business and government must face.

Posted December 11, 2004


Toby Westerman publishes
International News Analysis - Today
An investigative and uncompromising weekly analysis of the world situation

Contact T. Westerman at
www.inatoday.com
or P.O. BOX 5182, Rockford, ILL, 61125-0182


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