Saturday, August 25, 2007

Untold story: the KGB's frightening comeback

By Rick Morris

The Russian Bear has returned. In a supremely compelling cover story this week in The Economist, the comeback of the KGB in the form of its successor the FSB is illuminated in chilling detail. While we in the West have deluded ourselves over the past 15 years that the Cold War is dead and buried, it has slowly arisen again -- and with Russia playing footsie with China, Venezuela, Iran and a number of formidable anti-American players worldwide, we're staring down a new threat at a time when we can't afford to be diverted from pursuing the Global War on Terror. We certainly don't have a global alliance to deal with Russia and its axis similar to the anti-communist umbrella of the Cold War.

Although it is an excellent account of how Russia's turn away from the West has materialized, the Economist's story surprisingly does not contain any information about another key factor in this sad development: Nashi. This anti-American youth group has become a slavish tool of Russian President Putin as he re-institutes the domestic tyranny present throughout much of the country's history. Nashi is a frightening and powerful force in Russia, instilling hatred of the West. These articles are stark warnings of the successes they have enjoyed to date.

While I believe that Putin has plotted all along to take Russia down this path, I also see much that our government has done to play into his hands over the past decade. After we went into Afghanistan, our government had the bright idea to try to place military bases in former Soviet republics, ignoring the sense of paranoia it would stir up in Russia. The same can be said of our decision to expand NATO right up to Russia's doorstep -- that was a classic example of something in international affairs that was undeniably moral, but was anything but helpful to our national interest. In a presidential debate in 2000, George W. Bush pledged to instill a new humility in American global affairs. Had he followed though on his promise, Putin would not have had as easy a time in turning Russia into USSR 2K7.

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