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Military Matters: Russian ally -- Part 2

superpower mates forever.
by William S. Lind
Washington (UPI) Jan 6, 2009
According to the Nov. 14 Financial Times, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking to a group of Russian and European business leaders before flying to Washington for a visit, said Russia could develop "neighborly and partnership-based relations with the U.S."

In Washington for the Group of 20 meeting, Medvedev 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."

Responding to a question before the Council on Foreign Relations, Medvedev sent the message yet again. According to The Post, he said: "In my state of the nation address, I mentioned that Russia has no anti-Americanism, but there are some difficulties in understanding each other. We would like to overcome this with the new administration."

It is imperative that when U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and his new administration take office, they very rapidly respond positively to this diplomatic opening. After eight years of alienating friends and making more enemies, the United States is in dire need of fewer enemies and more friends. Russia could be a valuable friend indeed, diplomatically, militarily and economically.

Medvedev offered tantalizing hints about how the issue of ballistic missile defense might be handled. "But to my mind we have good opportunities to solve this problem … to agree either on a global system of protection against rogue states … or to find ways out in terms of programs existing already," The Post reported him saying.

Russian anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense technology is at least as good as that of the United States, maybe better. If the Obama administration is serious about missile defense for Europe, it can be provided far better by working with Russia than by threatening Russia.

Even more significantly, when Medvedev was asked before the Council for Foreign Relations about the possibility of Russia joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he said, "There is a good phrase: Never say 'never.'"

Since the fall of communism, the Brussels-based NATO has had no real reason to exist. But if Russia joined NATO, then that alliance would become what the West needs most: an alliance of the global North. This is a lead both the Obama administration and the European members of NATO should pursue avidly.

With all the old veterans of former President Bill Clinton's administration from 1993 to 2001 moving straight into the new Obama administration and former first lady Hillary Clinton scheduled to become Obama's first secretary of state, there is not much hope for change. But perhaps even they can see that the United States is not wise to turn all the world into its enemy. That was Germany's fatal blunder in both world wars.

The Russians have opened the door to at least a normal relationship, perhaps much more. This time, let's not slam it in their face.

(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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China's preparing Tiananmen Square military parade: report
Beijing (AFP) Jan 4, 2009
China will mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic with a military parade showcasing the nation's latest weapons, state press said Sunday.

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