Kasparov on Russian Mahem in the Middle East

Garry Kasparov, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Those looking for a bright side in the global economic meltdown are fond of invoking the old line about finding opportunity in a crisis. But also keep in mind that there are those who will incite a new crisis to escape or distract from the current one. This is the scenario looming in Russia as the Kremlin faces increasing pressure on multiple fronts.

Russia and its fellow petrodictatorships are in dire need of a way to ratchet up global tensions to inflate the sagging price of oil. Petrodictators, after all, need petrodollars to stay in power. The war in Gaza and the otherwise inexplicable skirmish with Ukraine over natural gas have helped the Kremlin in this regard, but $50 a barrel isn’t going to be nearly enough. It will have to reach at least $100 and it will have to happen soon.

The effects of the financial crisis are rapidly reaching every level of Russian society. With no avenue for political expression left open to us, Russians are ready to take to the streets. Vladimir Putin has reacted true to form, ramming through new “anti-extremism” laws, building up the interior ministry’s paramilitary police forces, and increasing the volume of the xenophobic propaganda in state-controlled media.

The natural place for the Kremlin to find its new crisis is the Middle East. Open hostilities between Iran and Israel would lift the price of oil back to a level that would allow Mr. Putin and his gang to keep funding the crackdown. Israel’s anxiety over Iran’s nuclear-weapon ambitions is the most vulnerable link in a very weak chain.

There persists a very damaging myth in the West, spouted by politicians and the press, that says Russia’s assistance is needed with Iran and other rogue states. In fact, the Kremlin has been stirring this pot for years and has a vested interest in further increasing turmoil in the region. The Hamas/Hezbollah rockets, based on the Russian Katyusha and Grad, are not delivered via DHL from Allah. It doesn’t require the guile of a KGB man like Mr. Putin to imagine a way to accelerate Iran’s nuclear program, which has been aided by Russian technology and protected by the Kremlin from meaningful international action.

The natural place for the Kremlin to find its new crisis is the Middle East. Open hostilities between Iran and Israel would lift the price of oil back to a level that would allow Mr. Putin and his gang to keep funding the crackdown. Israel’s anxiety over Iran’s nuclear-weapon ambitions is the most vulnerable link in a very weak chain.

There persists a very damaging myth in the West, spouted by politicians and the press, that says Russia’s assistance is needed with Iran and other rogue states. In fact, the Kremlin has been stirring this pot for years and has a vested interest in further increasing turmoil in the region. The Hamas/Hezbollah rockets, based on the Russian Katyusha and Grad, are not delivered via DHL from Allah. It doesn’t require the guile of a KGB man like Mr. Putin to imagine a way to accelerate Iran’s nuclear program, which has been aided by Russian technology and protected by the Kremlin from meaningful international action.
So the question for Western leaders is whether they doubt Mr. Putin would hesitate to provoke a war in the Middle East. If his regime falls, he and his cronies will face the loss of their immense fortunes and criminal prosecution when their looting is exposed. What are thousands of lives in the Middle East to a Kremlin mob that is openly preparing for the day when they will have to open fire on their own citizens to stay in power?

This “mad bear” theory is even more plausible when you consider how tolerant the current cohort of Western leaders has been regarding the destruction of democratic rights around the world. There appears to be no line the world’s despots — and would-be despots — cannot cross with impunity.

It is time to bury the failed model of dealing with the world’s antidemocratic and bloodthirsty regimes. The real change we must effect in 2009 is toward a new global emphasis on the value of human life. Anything less confirms to the enemies of democratic civilization that everything is negotiable. For Mr. Putin that means democracy; for Hamas it means Israel’s existence. The Free World must take those chips off the table.

Israel has the capability to annihilate Gaza to secure the safety of its people, but it chooses not to do so because the Israelis value human life. Does anyone doubt for a moment what Hamas would do if it had the power to wipe out every one of the five-and-a-half million Jews in Israel? Hamas should not be considered less a villain simply because it does not as yet possess the means to fulfill its genocidal agenda.

Terror suspects such as the United Kingdom’s “liquid-bomb” plotters and the recently convicted group plotting to kill U.S. soldiers at the Fort Dix military base were arrested before they were able to carry out their lethal plans. Those who call Israel’s assault on Gaza disproportionate should write down on a piece of paper exactly how many Israelis should die before the Israeli Defense Forces respond.
The leaders of Europe and the U.S. are hoping that the tyrants and autocrats of the world will just disappear. But dinosaurs like Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chávez and Iran’s ayatollahs are not going to fade away by natural causes. They survive because the leaders of the Free World are afraid to take a stand.

Years from now, when Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is either dead or deposed, his legacy will lead to another genocide trial in The Hague. Why don’t Western powers, many of whom are condemning Israel’s action in Gaza, take action now to stop the extermination in Zimbabwe instead of waiting a decade for a trial? Criticizing Israel is easy while rescuing Zimbabwe is hard. Choosing the path of least resistance is moral cowardice. It does not avoid difficult decisions, it only postpones them.

Mr. Putin’s Russia has invaded one neighbor and is threatening to freeze much of Europe by shutting down natural gas pipelines that flow through Ukraine. But since confronting Mr. Putin would take courage, Western leaders pretend his help is needed. This policy of self-deception will have disastrous consequences.

The futile pursuit of balance and neutrality by Western leaders and the media has become nothing more than a cover-up for the gravest of crimes. No doubt they would have judiciously considered the “legitimate grievances” of Stalin, Hitler and bin Laden. The time to stand up to such monsters is before they have achieved their horrific goals, not after.

6 responses to “Kasparov on Russian Mahem in the Middle East

  1. Why don’t Western powers, many of whom are condemning Israel’s action in Gaza, take action now to stop the extermination in Zimbabwe instead of waiting a decade for a trial?

    because to do so, would allow the african contenent to unleash their natural resources on the world and allow them to defend themselves from the future…

    if he analyses his own thing, he would realize that russias actions are anywhere and everywhere that such actions can get benifit. so keeping africa imprisoned by western dollars and aid keeps them from developing an economy, kicking out their despots, and opening up their lands for themselves.

  2. And what natural resources will the continent of Africa unleash on the world? The AIDS epidemic, tribalism, starvation, corruption, piracy? There is very little resembling law and order/civilized behavior occuring south of the sahara desert, other than South Africa. Any western country would be accused of colonialism if they tried to clean up that mess in Zimbabwe.

  3. All this chaos, these ‘wars and rumors of wars’ is what keeps the bureaucrats employed. They dare to call themselves ‘diplomats’ but they are just self-serving …. well, bureaucrats. Few politicians now days are interested in creating an atmosphere where their people(s) can thrive, live in peace, and better their lives. They are in it to line their own pockets, grab whatever so-called ‘power’ they seek, and live for the moment. It does not matter the name of the country, they are in every corner of the globe.

  4. Artfldgr, get real, there isn’t anything that western powers can do about Mugabe unless they invade and occupy Zimbabwe. Africa has been selling their commodity resources to China and typically the profits have gone to their despots’ Swiss bank accounts. Throwing more money down the African aid rat hole has never worked.

    Why doesn’t South Africa and neighboring states or even the useless UN take care of throwing Mugabe out? Not everything is the west’s responsibility.

    Russians need to clean up Russia. It’s the same with Africa.

  5. I have to agree with Penny – the reason Mugabe is still in power is that his African neighbors, notably South Africa, are reluctant to do anything that makes them appear to be serving the interests of “imperialist” or “colonialist” (which in effect means “White”) countries.

  6. the weapons come from russia, and china..

    hard to be a despot when you dont have weapons… and dont get expertise… heck, the russians have these small states so paranoid that their leaders become wackaloons.

    well established example:
    the kgb tagged teh czechs, who tagged teh romanian die… you see the czechs had something on a diplomat from indonesia. so this gave the russians a line to create false documents that used the honey pot victim to pass them on to sukarno in indonesia.

    well, you see, at this time… they were able to convince them that america was going to invade indochina… take veintnam.. then cambodia, laos, tailand, then indonesia.

    they had him all twisted up in knots and between all the agencies wsipering in the ear, they get wacky paranoid…

    so sukarno beleivs this… and he ejects all western ifnluencve… the russian kgb slap themselves on teh back, and they have another country under their belt

    ah… but the chinese step in… they decide now is a good time for a coupe to grab the prize after russia did all the work…and so they then kill 6 generals, a 7th survives..

    sukarno then figures out whats going on, and he cleans house… (to this day those incidents are looked at strangely since left and right misattributions and so forth).

    the largest non russian state with one of the largest freindly populations (at the time), cleaned house and eitehr killed all the communists, banished them and put them in jail

    indonesia today is a free democratic republic..

    western powers can do a lot about mugabe.

    but first they have to finihs closing the weapons path rough iran… turkey, iraq, iran, and afghanistan are a one country line in the sand which would prevent huge quantities of weapons, explosives, experts, and more…

    study the history of things… most people dont know that russian pilots flew plains against americans in vietnam… (they just had a soldiers reunion that was in the press), and in other conflicts.

    right now africa sells to china, but they would get better from an open market… but china and rsusia spply them with weaons and information in exchange for closed market dealing, which keesp them frmo making the economy that would allow them to get rid of mugabe

    western aid also cripples them. since one cant create economy when free is your competitor.

    no one will go in there and take over. one only has to read whats happened in south africa after they got the state back.. racist genocids, and the whole syustem declined to poverty in a few years.

    so no… no one will take them over and help them fix up… its a losing proposition given the socailist class games that insue.

    tpenny, just remember, that the profits go to ak47s, grenade launchers, and lots of other things. they dont get to keep the money, its in exchange… you can have anoher 40 million, which means nothing now that you have 200 million already… and can only use it in your own country as long as you own it… they buy wepaons and expertise to defend their king of the hill status.

    russia is all to happy to ‘help’ them.

    want to read about the change?

    read:
    a simle example of communal decline
    a letter from south africa byt jim perone
    DIE, the beloved country.

    its amaznig how it matches the socialist states in incompetence… rather than matching the capitalist states in ability, merit, morals and competence.

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