The Useful Idiots of Osama bin Laden
Patrick J. Buchanan
September 27 2004
Of all Ronald Reagan's achievements, among
the greatest was that this president who began his term declaring the
Soviet Union an "evil empire" was, by the end of his tenure, strolling
through Red Square with Mikhail Gorbachev to the cheers of the Russian
That the Cold War ended without our tearing our nations to pieces, as
Britain and Germany did, was a triumph, especially considering the
awesome power of our weaponry. And since the Cold War ended, Americans
have seemed to understand the importance of good and strong relations
with Russia. The Washington-Moscow connection is among the most critical
on the planet.
Why, then, this raft of attacks on President Vladimir Putin over his
efforts to consolidate power to combat his terrorist threat?
In late August, two Russian airliners were brought down in minutes by
"Black Widow" Chechen terrorists. Days later, a school of Russian
children was seized by Chechen terrorists loyal to Shamil Basaev, the
Osama bin Laden of the Caucasus. Hundreds were slaughtered in the most
barbaric atrocity since 9-11.
After these horrors, Putin acted to centralize power over his
Balkanizing country. He called on parliament to approve a plan to let
him name the governors of Russia's 89 provinces, rather than have them
elected. Most of the governors approved. But Western elites are howling
as though Putin were using the Beslan horror as Hitler used the
Reichstag fire – to railroad his rivals to Dachau.
In the Washington Post, Robert Kagan of the American Enterprise
Institute and the Weekly Standard calls Putin's plan an "unambiguous
step toward tyranny in Russia." Putin "is imposing dictatorship," rails
Kagan. "Putin is not really 'with us' ... A dictatorial Russia is at
least as dangerous as a dictatorial Iraq ... A Russian dictatorship can
never be a reliable ally of the United States."
"[T]he aspiring dictator of Russia has forced President Bush to reveal
how committed he really is to the cause of democracy around the world."
Kagan demanded that Bush denounce Putin – which Bush and Colin Powell
both mildly did, infuriating Moscow – and even consider sanctions
Query: Have we lost our minds? In Russia, what is vital to us is that we
have a stable, friendly government and reliable partner in combating
terrorism. How Russia chooses its regional or provincial leaders or
parliament is none of our business. What are Western media and
politicians doing hectoring Putin and mucking around in Russia's
British journalist John Laughlin has looked behind the attacks on Putin
and discovered the "oligarchs" – Russian billionaires who looted the
privatized assets of the old Soviet Union, men like Boris Berezovsky and
Mikhail Khordokovsky. Putin has run them out of Russian or locked them
up. And they have used their vast fortunes to buy up intellectuals in
Western capitals to agitate against him.
Also agitating against Putin is the American Committee for Peace in
Chechnya, a front group of neocons such as Richard Perle, James Woolsey,
Michael Ledeen and Kenneth ("Cakewalk") Adelman.
ACPC wants Bush to cut Putin adrift in the name of democracy. These are
the same ideologues who engineered the war to "democratize" Iraq and
prevailed on Bush to declare "world democratic revolution" the
overarching goal of his foreign policy.
These neoconservatives are demanding that Putin negotiate with the
Chechens rebels. Many favor a NATO presence in Chechnya along the lines
of the NATO missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Putin sees them as pressuring him to negotiate with child-murderers and
as pursuing a devious Western strategy to further weaken and break up
Russia. In interviews, he has expressed a growing bitterness toward the
West – reacting just as Andrew Jackson would have if Czar Nicholas I had
loudly demanded that Jackson sit down and start negotiating with the
But the larger question is: Why is Bush still listening to these people?
These were the propagandists and agitators for the war in Iraq that may
yet cost him his presidency. Nothing they promised has been delivered.
They constantly undercut relations with our European allies with their
insults. They persuaded Bush to outsource Middle East policy to Sharon,
to our national detriment.
Now, they are pushing Bush to distance ourselves from, if not to
destabilize Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Why does Bush continue to heed men whose policies have radicalized the
Middle East and converted much of the Islamic world into a giant
recruiting station for Osama bin Laden?
© 2004 Creators
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