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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bush versus Putin, Iraq versus Chechnya

Already this month, as La Russophobe has reported, Russia has experienced not one but two major terrorist events related to its ongoing conflict in Chechnya.

Unlike Iraq, Chechnya is a tiny country with no formal armed forces and it is contiguous to Russia's border. To control Iraq, the U.S. must project its power across an ocean to deal with a country that, before it attacked had one of the world's largest armies and had used weapons of mass destruction. To control Chechnya, Russia only hast to hop on a commuter train.

Yet, since America attacked Iraq, the U.S. has not experienced one single act of terrorism on its homeland, even though its borders are far more porous than those of most other countries and its society is far more open. Meanwhile, since attacking Chechnya, acts of terrorism on the Russian homeland are a regular occurrence.

It's easy to find counters on the web showing U.S. casualties in Iraq. Is it just as easy to find them showing Russian casualties in Chechnya?

Nobody has more contempt for George Bush than La Russophobe. He is responsible, as much as any individual non-Russian, for the rise of the Neo-Soviet Union. His public opinion polls rightly suffer for his ham-handed handling of Iraq, and there is talk of Bush's party losing control of the government in the U.S. Yet, international laughing stock that he is, Bush has kept Americans far safer from terrorism than KGB spy Vladimir Putin, whose poll numbers nonetheless continue at nosebleed levels. This either means that (a) the Russian people are uninformed, idiotic sheep or (b) they actually approve of Russia's barbarity in Chechnya or (c) the polls contain ne0-Soviet cooked numbers.

Credit where credit is due. La Russophobe can't attack Bush's Russia policy without acknowledging his bravura success in dealing with domestic terrorism. So bravo to you on that, Sir. Now get your head out of your you-know-what and have another look at Russia (actually, given the recent sharply critical comments of his Veep and Secretary of State about Russia in recent weeks, it seems he may be doing just that!).

Meanwhile, La Russophobe can't attack Putin without acknowledging his successes either. So, what are they? What has Putin done to improve Russia that is comparable to Bush keeping the USA safe from foreign enemies for five years, even as various groups of extremists salivate about revenge? In fact, what positive thing of any kind has he ever done while in office? Putin's policies had nothing to do with the rising price of oil or the revenues that resulted, his policies can't conceivably have influenced the price. Even Stalin and Hitler could point to various achievements of their regimes (electrification, trains running on time, etc.), things that their apologists use to try to justify their existences.

But Putin? Try as she might, La Russophobe just can't think of anything. Readers are welcome to suggest some (if they can).

Meanwhile, Putin has alienated virtually every country in the world, supported dictatorship of the worst kind in Belarus, and continues to preside over violent, bloody, unsuccessful war in Chechnya. His country's population continues to fall while it lives in abject poverty, with average salaries of $300 per month. He hoards the relatively limited supply of resources received from the oil revenues rather than investing them in his country, and he obliterates the last traces of pluralism and democracy, crushing the media and opposition political parties. Race violence is on the rampage and he has done nothing to stop it. One can go on and on (as this blog proves). The Russians are back to singing the Stalin anthem, and getting drummed out of international sports competitions left and right. Indeed, were Putin Bush, he would already long ago have been impeached.

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