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Is Russia The Natural Ally Of America Part One

Just two guys taking a spin while running the world.
by William S. Lind
Washington (UPI) Jan 2, 2009
The arriving U.S. administration of President-elect Barack Obama that will take office on Jan. 20 will be handed not merely a can of worms but a bucket of asps.

Somewhere I suspect the ghost of Herbert Hoover, who was president of the United States from 1929 to 1933 through the arrival and worst onslaught of the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, is smiling.

The inherited foreign policy problems that will face the incoming Obama administration are no less daunting than the economic mess. But on the latter front, there is at least one piece of good news. It may be possible to set the U.S.-Russian relationship on a new course.

The failure of successive administrations in the United States to reintegrate post-communist Russia into the concert of powers was a strategic blunder of the first order.

The threat from the global South, manifested most powerfully by invasion by immigration but also evident in many other ways, can be met only by a united global North. Russia holds the West's vast eastern flank, which stretches all the way from the Black Sea to the Russian naval city of Vladivostok on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. If that eastern flank were to collapse, as Russia came close to doing in the early 1990s, the West's geo-strategic position would become well-nigh hopeless.

Despite this strategic reality that ought to be evident to anyone who can read a map, Republican and Democratic administrations in the United States over the past two decades have vied to determine which could more effectively humiliate and alienate Russia.

The Clinton administration probably won that contest with its inane 1999 war on the post-Yugoslav republic of Serbia, Russia's historic Orthodox Christian ally. Current U.S. President George W. Bush's subsequent efforts to enlarge the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization and his insistence on locating anti-missile defenses in Central Europe were additional sticks in the eyes of the Russian governments led by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. The only reason for any of it was great power hubris of the sort that littered the 20th century with wreckage. Regrettably, the Washington Establishment is as prideful as it is shortsighted.

Until November, I would have said the Bush administration and its policies had damaged the prospects for an American-Russian entente beyond repair. But to the West's potential good fortune, current Russian President Medvedev has now signaled otherwise.

According to the Nov. 14 Financial Times newspaper in London, Medvedev, speaking shortly before his trip to the United States to a group of Russian and European business leaders, said Russia could develop "neighborly and partnership-based relations with the U.S." In Washington for the Group of 20 meeting, he repeated the message. The Nov. 16 Washington Post quoted him as saying, "I think we can create in principle a new framework ... a partnership between the U.S. and Russia."

(In Part 2: The military arguments for seeking new close U.S. cooperation with Russia)

(William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation.)

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Greece agrees Russian air and sea manoeuvres in Aegean
Athens (AFP) Jan 2, 2009
Russian aircraft and warships will this month carry out manoeuvres in the southeast Aegean within the Athens flight information zone (FIZ), Greek military sources said Friday.

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