Monday, December 04, 2006

WSJ:

Russia: The Enemy

November 28, 2006
It's time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States.

This isn't simply because a former KGB agent turned Putin critic died last week in London after ingesting a dose of polonium 210, an element that usually functions as a neutron trigger in atomic bombs. Nor is it that Alexander Litvinenko's death is the latest in a series of killings, attempted murders, imprisonments and forced exiles whose victims just happened to be prominent opponents of Mr. Putin. It is because the foreign policy of Russia has become openly, and often gratuitously, hostile to the U.S.


Some examples: Last summer, Russia signed a billion-dollar arms deal with Venezuela; Hugo Chávez wasted no time fantasizing aloud about using the weapons to sink an American aircraft carrier. Last week, Russia began deliveries to Iran of highly sophisticated SA-15 anti-aircraft missiles, at a value of $700 million. Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanov claims the missiles will "have no influence on the balance of power in the region." But the purpose of the missiles is to defend Iran's nuclear sites, which do threaten the balance of power. Mr. Ivanov also says he is "absolutely sure" the billion-dollar Bushehr reactor that Russia is building for Iran could not be used to build nuclear weapons. This is false, and Mr. Ivanov must know it: The spent plutonium from the reactor can easily be diverted and reprocessed to produce as many as 60 bombs.

At the United Nations, Russia has consistently opposed U.S. efforts to sanction Iran and North Korea for their nuclear programs and diluted the effects of the resolutions that were passed. The Russians say they oppose the use of sanctions because they "don't work." It's an odd claim coming from a government that in October brusquely imposed trade, travel and postal sanctions on neighboring Georgia.

It is said often that Russia's motives are essentially mercenary and thus amoral. That's only partly true. Paul Volcker's investigation into the Oil for Food scandal revealed that Russian companies did $19.3 billion in oil deals with Saddam Hussein (by contrast, the French did a mere $4.4 billion) and that Russian individuals were the great beneficiaries of Saddam's illicit largesse -- one reason, perhaps, that Russia vigorously opposed the U.S. invasion. As recently as July Russia had plans to supply North Korea with advanced encryption and nuclear-storage systems. The total value of Russian arms sales to Tehran has risen nearly sixfold in recent years.

Yet Russia hardly depends on Iran as a weapons-export market, to say nothing of North Korea; most of its arms sales are to China and India. So why would Moscow, which has its own grave problems with Islamic radicals, abet the nuclear ambitions of a revolutionary Islamic regime that sponsors terrorism from Buenos Aires to Beirut?

Part of the answer, surely, has to do with the psychology of clientism and Russia's desire to assert and expand its sphere of influence. Part of the answer, too, is that a Russia that can obstruct American purposes -- whether in Latin America, Northeast Asia or the Persian Gulf -- must also be one that is relevant and powerful.

But there is also a fair bit of rank anti-Americanism at play. Take the September contretemps with Georgia, which involved Tbilisi's arrest of four Russian officers it had charged with espionage: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned darkly at a press conference that "this latest escapade . . . happened straight after NATO's decision to grant Georgia an intensive cooperation plan and [Georgian President] Mikhail Saakashvili's visit to the United States." Was Mr. Lavrov playing to traditional Russian paranoia about the designs of outsiders on the motherland? Or did he really believe that Washington, Brussels and Tbilisi were conspiring trilaterally in this two-bit "plot"?

How does the Litvinenko murder fit into this? Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident now at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, has often made the point that the best predictor of how nations behave toward their neighbors is how they treat their own people. "I think there's a very high probability [the Litvinenko killing] was done by the security services," he says in a telephone interview. The Kremlin's denials notwithstanding, the use of exotic poisons has been a KGB (now FSB) signature for decades, and killing Litvinenko in London would certainly be one way of letting the Kremlin's critics know that nobody is immune anywhere. As for negative public reaction, Mr. Sharansky observes that "experience shows them that it's short-lived."

That's certainly been Mr. Putin's experience with this White House. It was George W. Bush who first saw gold in Mr. Putin's soul, sometime after the Russian had decimated the city of Grozny. It was Condoleezza Rice who came up with the formulation after the Iraq war that the U.S. should "punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia." And it was this administration that agreed last week to Russian membership in the World Trade Organization, with Mr. Bush thanking Mr. Putin for "your time and friendship."

A case can be made for bringing Russia into the WTO, but caveat emptor: A government that trashes the rule of law domestically isn't likely to long sit still in any rules-based organization. There is no case for Russia's continued participation as the eighth member of the Group of Seven, once a club for mature democracies only. Putting Mr. Putin on notice that only gentlemen belong in gentlemen's clubs would be the right first step. Treating him for what he is -- "unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women," as Litvinenko wrote from his deathbed -- would be the next.

1 comment:

PROFESOR COCCA said...

37500 % DE GANANCIA EN FARMACOS
Estimado Señor : como Profesor Universitario, de la Universidad Kennedy. Dictaba cinco asignaturas, entre ellas, Ejercicio y Administración Farmacéutica. Con mas de 50 excelentes alumnos, inquisitivos, ávidos de adquirir conocimientos, mi misión además de enseñar Legislación Farmacéutica, era explicarles como es esta actividad comercialmente, tal es así, que como trabajo practico averiguamos al azar el costo de un descongestivo nasal en gotas, droga base nafazolina, tiempo en el mercado mas de 40 años, consultado el proveedor mas importante de drogas para la industria farmacéutica, dio el costo por frasco, 0,03 centavo, precio de venta 11,25 pesos, ganancia por unidad 37500 %, por supuesto esto no tiene parangón con ninguna actividad licita, a todo esto se me invita el 5 de junio de 2007 al Anexo de la Cámara de Diputados de la Nación, donde se realizaron unas Jornadas sobre “ Ética y Medicamentos “ estando presentes, legisladores, funcionarios gremialistas , las Cámaras Farmacéutica que supuestamente no habían sido invitadas, pero ahí estaban en segunda fila, farmacéuticos, etc, finalizada la Jornada se podían exponer posiciones de cada uno que quisiera hablar, yo fui uno de ellos y en particular me dirigí a las Cámaras de la Industria a los que tenia a pocos metros, el drama es la accesibilidad de nuestro pueblo a los fármacos, se nos mueren compatriotas, en particular niños ,muchos de ellos muy pequeños y esta gente sin ninguna culpa gana el 37500 %, esto es un escándalo de proporciones y el Estado debe y puede solucionarlo, no puede hacerse el distraído .
La respuesta a mis palabras no se hizo esperar, no para intentar solucionar el tema sino para sacarme del medio. Me cito mi Decano Dr, Capon Filas y La Directora de Farmacia Farmaceutica Magariños, y con un discurso Kafkiano e hiriente, me sacaron la cátedra de Farmacia, días después todas las demás, no estoy arrepentido, no puedo ser cómplice de tamaño despropósito.

Como curiosidad mi ultimo sueldo, aguinaldo incluido fueron 231 Pesos.

Lo saludo cordialmente.



Profesor Universitario.

Eduardo Marcelo Cocca

e-mail : profcocca@gmail.com



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