Who's Next After Iraq?

“If there is no actual threat to the interests of the USA and the West, they will never seriously consider Russia’s interests as well,” said famous Russian economist of Armenian origin Migranyan. This sounds like the only sound estimate given within the past twenty years.

Amicos Bush, magis amica veritas. And the truth is that the better relations are between Russia and the USA, the less there is for Russia. The more the American president taps the Russian president on the shoulder, the more America’s “friendship” resembles the strangle of a serpent. Why did George W. Bush visit Russia? Did he come here just to admire Katherina Palace of Tsarskoye Selo or to ask Russia not to interfere with the USA’s affairs when it decides to attack Iraq? Do we actually need Iraq? Who is to become an object for forced democratization, Belarus or China?

After the seventy Soviet era years when the USSR resisted America, after the arms race, ideological contest and lots of different threats, we still cannot come to our senses for 17 years already, because of the happiness that America is no longer afraid of Russia. However, we missed the fact that the USA at the same time ceased to take Russia into consideration at all.

But why? Russia has always behaved very nobly: we returned the German Democratic Republic to Germany, Eastern Europe to Europe, Nicaragua to the United States. Whatever was asked for, Russia always returned. We didn’t save our Serb brothers from a blood-thirsty Uncle Sam. We even gave the plan of the bugging the US Embassy building in Moscow to the CIA. What did we get in exchange? Sarcastic notes of US diplomats about the drunk courage of Tsar Boris.

However, Russia wasn’t allowed into Europe completely; instead, we were reproached for the war in Chechnya. It was even mentioned that Russia must also give Chechnya back.

By the way, in the Soviet times, a new building of the Soviet Embassy was built in Washington. However, for the next 14 years, Soviet, and later Russian authorities were not allowed to use the building. Americans feared that Russia would be able to bug the vice-president’s residence and the center for submarine control from the new building of the embassy. It is strange, because Americans themselves allotted the area for construction of the Soviet Embassy building in Washington, but later they found some reasons not to let Russians into the building. Why? Was it a fault of those people who allotted the area for the construction? No, it seems to be America’s tendency to always find reasons to press for more and more concessions from rivals.

From the totalitarian world, Russia plunged into the world of countries with market economies. Democracy is just a consequence of this market; the principles of market and democracy are said to be identical. A complete triumph is when you manage to bring your rival to ruin, bankrupt him, outbid him, and close him down. Modern Westerners don’t understand what noble doings and gratitude mean. They don’t know how it is possible to give something back with the hope to receiving gratitude and nobleness from those who receive.

Westerners are taught that before you give something, consider carefully what you may get in exchange. They are used to carefully weighing their advantages, bargaining about the advantages, and fixing the liabilities of the oppositeside in official contracts. Stalin was the only Soviet leader who could bargain with the Western world: he restored everything that Russia had lost after the 1917 Revolution, and even added something, Koenigsberg and Tuva for instance.

As it was written in the 1943 Cairo Declaration by WWII allies, the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition “were not striving for any conquests for themselves and had no intention to expand their territories.” But Americans wanted the Soviet Union to join the war with Japan. And in the Crimea, in 1945, Stalin was paid his price for war with Japan, the Kurile Islands. However, to get the Kurile Islands, the Soviet leader also asked for Manjuria (present day Manchuli) and Hokkaido. Americans should be given credit: after WWII, they discovered some items in official documents allowed them to say that Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai were not parts of the Kurile Islands and must belong to Japan.

After the 9/11 attacks in the USA, Washington was buying the loyalty of allies for its revenge action in Afghanistan. The USA lifted sanctions from Pakistan and India. America also acquitted Pakistan and Jordan of a part of their debts. However, Russia in that situation acted ingenuously and nobly: we allowed Americans to bring their troops to the military bases in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan and supplied the NATO with weapons. Russia dreamt that for those actions, it would be admitted into the alliance, and there would be no more differences between Russia and Europe.

What was the result? Russia is not a NATO member; moreover, it gets no concessions concerning the Kaliningrad problem.Russian citizens will have to get visas to visit Russia’s Kaliningrad region and get back to Moscow. After the hostage taking crisis in the Moscow theatre, Denmark didn’t extradite Chechen terrorist Zakayev to Russia.

The document that Russian diplomats call the “Venik Amendment” is still in force in the USA: the law punished the Soviet Union for resistance to immigration of Soviet Jews. The problem is not topical any more, as most Jews who planned to leave are already outside the country, but Russia is still punished in accordance with the Venik Amendment.

I don’t know the details the Iraqi government, but Russia and Iraq have one thing in common: both are oil producing and selling countries. If the Americans smash Iraq but don’t seize it, oil prices will go up. If they seize Iraq, oil prices will drop.

The higher the oil prices, the better the situation is for Russia, as it exists at the expense of oil exports. Will Russia profit from the US conquest of Iraq? It won’t. What shall we get from the USA in exchange? Gratitude. Bush will call Putin not only his friend, but the noblest of his friends. Certainly, both the American and the Russian presidents like to pretend; the US president likes to pretend he is clever, and the Russian president likes to pretend to be a fool. However, the time will come when Putin will be demanded to explain for what interests of the nation and former allies were exchanged.

Andrey Kalachinsky Vladivostok newspaper

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: https://www.pravda.ru/world/8064-irac/

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