IF THE FORCES of International Terrorism were on the ropes before, Russia's announcement today that it would "liquidate" terror bases around the globe has made us think that terrorism is pretty much finished. It may take a few years, perhaps more than a decade, but we do think it will happen.
It is true the Russians do not possess military strength on par with the United States. However, they do have a complete disregard for Western Europe's opinion on what they ought do, and little tolerance for diplomacy. We do believe that both Western European leaders and the Chechen rebels understand this, given their comments on the matter.
Col.-Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff of Russia's armed forces, asserted Russia's right to strike terrorists beyond its borders.
"As for carrying out preventive strikes against terrorist bases . . . we will take all measures to liquidate terrorist bases in any region of the world," he told reporters.
Baluyevsky made his comments alongside NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gen. James Jones, after talks on Russia-NATO military co-operation, including anti-terror efforts.
European Union officials reacted cautiously to Baluyevsky's statements, with spokeswoman Emma Udwin saying she could not be sure whether they represented government policy. Udwin said the 25-member EU is against "extra-judicial killings" in form of pre-emptive strikes.
Ms Udwin's statement, we would argue, can be boiled down to: "Uh oh." The last thing the Euros want is for Russia to start acting up again. Yet they must also know there will be little they can do to stop Russia once it moves into action. The Chechen rebels, it would appear, realize this too:
Mr (Akhmed) Zakayev said: "I think these are probably not empty threats, in fact they have already shown in practice that that is the way they do things.
"It is a very disturbing signal they are sending for all civilised countries.
"There are lots of Chechens all over the world and of course they talk freely about how dissatisfied they are with Putin's policies.
"To Putin, that makes them international terrorists. It is a warning to other European countries that Russia may come and carry out an assassination on your soil at any moment."
Rebel envoy Zakayev's statement, we would argue, can be boiled down to: "Uh oh."
After all, the Chechen rebels have severely overplayed their hand. It was one thing when they were fighting for independence from Russia, and only attacking soldiers who had come to put down their rebellion. It was another entirely when they started blowing up apartment buildings and airliners. Now, they've killed hundreds of innocent people at a school. Those barbarous acts not only deprived them of any sympathy they may have once had in the outside world, they got everyone in Russia to sit up and take notice of this troublesome little war on the southern border. The Russians are now going to want very much to win it.
We must say, though, that we're amazed the Europeans misjudged their Russian friends so badly. So much for negotiation and the other useless tactics of which the Euros are so fond! On the other hand, perhaps it's not really a surprise. We note this event that happened in Paris recently:
PARIS, France (AP) -- Madonna drew massive applause from a sold-out crowd at Paris' Bercy stadium when she dedicated a cover version of John Lennon's peace ode "Imagine" to the Russian hostage crisis.
Addressing the audience midway through her Sunday-night show, Madonna spoke briefly about the hostage-taking at a school in the southern city of Beslan that left at least 330 dead. Officials have blamed the deadly attack on Chechens and other Islamic militants.
As video images of war and children were broadcast behind her on giant screens, the 46-year-old pop diva urged fans to think about what happened in Russia and about Lennon's lyrics.
We did our thinking. Imagine getting the bastards, getting the bastards, getting the bastards.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 8, 2004 10:04 PM | TrackBack