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Re: After Iraq?
by Threehegemons
07 April 2003 19:07 UTC
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I've been thinking lately about the prospects that the Russian military will be 
dragged into the mess the Americans are making.  Consider:

Russia has been uneasy about all US military interventions in 
South/East/Central Asia.  Whereas European liberals welcomed the bombing of 
Belgrade, Russia consistently denounced this policy, because of historic ties 
to the Serbs, and, I suspect, strategic interests its difficult to quickly 
identify.  Before the US bombing of Afghanistan, the northern alliance was seen 
as a Russian sponsored project. Now it is installed in Kabul, but the Americans 
are still there. Its hard to determine exactly what's going on in Afghanistan 
today--certainly Russia still has concrete reasons to be uneasy about chaos on 
its Southern border.   Rumsfield has accused Russia of offering modest 
assistance to Iraq. Russia can't possibly be happy about the prospect of the US 
strengthening ties to some of the former Soviet republics in the South so it 
can fight more wars in the region. I have also heard rumors that a popular 
Russian internet site offering military analysis may be a pipeline for Iraqi 

Consider also:  The US has made it clear it plans to deepen its intervention in 
the region, as  noted in the article Khaldoun posted. No conventional army 
stands in the US' way.  If Iran were to announce tommorrow that it is testing a 
nuke, this would impede the US, but it seems unlikely.  'Terrorist' attacks on 
US troops or even on US soil seem unlikely, in the short term, to reverse US 
involvement in the region.

Russia, unlike Western Europe (but like the US), still has a vital militaristic 
culture.  In the short, perhaps even medium term, Europe is out of ideas as to 
how to stop the US.  The UN isn't effective, and Western Europe probably 
doesn't want to iniatate economic warfare (although it may be pushed in this 
direction through popular pressure).  Could Russia begin to emerge as the 
military arm of Europe, offering arms, and perhaps even troops, to Syria or 
Iran to defend themselves? Russia may plausibly believe that the US would worry 
about the Russian military in a way it does not worry about Iraq, Syria, etc.  
Could a messy game of 'chicken' ensue?

BTW, just so I don't clutter your mailbox with extra posts, my problem with the 
War for the Dollar theory is timing--the US/Britain broke off and began bombing 
Iraq in 1998 (I believe, haven't looked up the date recently).  Iraq went to 
the Euro in 1999.  Certainly the Euro is one element in the declining ability 
of the US to control Europe  and the semiperiphery.

Steven Sherman

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