Category Archives: china

EDITORIAL: China is the New Russia


China is the New Russia

“Russia’s military bonanza is over, and China’s is just beginning.”

That was the conclusion of a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, finding that the chickens of Russia’s foolish decision to sell advanced military hardware to China have finally come home to roost:

After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier.


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EDITORIAL: That’s right Russians, Study up!


That’s right Russians, Study up!

The Chinese newswires were burning last week with news that a Chinese language-learning craze has begun to sweep over Russia.

That’s right, Russians, study up hard and fast.

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EDITORIAL: China to Russia — Drop Dead!


China to Russia — Drop Dead!

For those Russophile scum who like to suggest some type of anti-Western alliance between China and Russia might be forming, events last week must have come as a very rude awakening.

China announced an ambitious new plan to connect itself through a massive and impressive network of high-speed rail lines to the rest of the world, specifically Asia and Europe.  And Russia? Left out in the freezing Siberian cold.

Soon, you may be able to ride a bullet train at over 200 mph from London to Beijing.  Moscow? Not so much.

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China sticks it to Russia and Gazprom

Pavel Baev, writing in the Moscow Times:

Most news reports and comments on Monday’s festive opening of the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China portrayed the event as a strategic setback for Russia. There has been no official reaction, but the Kremlin has demonstrated total indifference to the break on its monopoly on importing gas from Central Asia. (Actually, Iran had broken the mononpoly much earlier in 1997.)

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China turns off its Russian Spigot

So much for the Russia-China alliance! 

The Irtysh river flows out of the mountains of Mongolia down through the northwest corner of China, through Kazakhstan and then down into Russia towards its basins in the Actic. The major Russian city of Omsk stands on its banks. Paul Goble reports that Russia’s beloved ally China is about to show its love for Russia by turning off the spigots:

By unilaterally taking out of the Irtysh far more water than ever before, China has put at risk the economies and populations of downstream communities in Kazakhstan and Russian Federation, threatened a delicate eco-system and raised questions about Beijing’s plans regarding other trans-border rivers in the Russian Far East.

According to Zhanaidar Ramazanov, head of the Independent Association of Water Users in Kazakhstan, China is currently planning to increase its annual withdrawal of water from the Irtysh from one billion cubic meters to 4.6 billion cubic meters in the immediate future to support development in Xinjiang, an amount equal to 68 cubic meters every second.

Because China’s action is so threatening, Russian ecological commentator Dmitry Verkhoturov argues in his report on this development, both Moscow and Astana are seeking to force China to accede to the 1992 Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-Boundary Watercourses.

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EDITORIAL: Vladimir “Just Call me Commie!” Putin


Vladimir “Just Call me Commie!” Putin

Like an envious underachiever, Vladimir V. Putin’s party, United Russia, is increasingly examining how it can emulate the Chinese Communist Party, especially its skill in shepherding China through the financial crisis relatively unbowed.

The New York Times, October 17th

You read that right:  Proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin is openly proclaiming his desire to copy the governing strategies of the Chinese Communist Party.  Meanwhile, ex-Commie bigwig Mikhail Gorbachev was scathingly condemning what he called a “mockery” of democracy in Russia’s most recent elections, which were a travesty even by Russia’s barbaric standards as we report below.  Russia has sunk about as low is it can get.

How many people were there, we wonder, those Russopile bastards, telling us when Putin came to power that Russia could “never go back” to the dark days of Communism and totalitarian, one-party dictatorship, that it did not matter that Putin was a proud KGB spy  because he had seen the light of Soviet failure and would not repeat those errors.  They were, of course, lying to us, seeking to buy time for Putin to consolidate the very type of government they denied he was capable of building.

It’s hard to imagine a more emphatic declaration of Putin’s failure than that he wants to study the Chinese, that is unless you want to talk about giant French retailer Carrefour.

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Russia as Appendage of China

It’s always encouraging to see a Russian courageous enough to speak the truth to power. Alexander Lukin, director of the Center for East Asian and SCO Studies at Moscow State University for International Relations, does so in regard to Russian relations with China in the pages of the Moscow Times. Simply brutal stuff, sure to get him called “traitor” far and wide throughout his own land. Those who say so, of course, are the real enemies of the Russian people.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, in Beijing on Tuesday. An official meeting between the two countries’ prime ministers will be held annually under the auspices of Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation and as part of efforts to form a permanent bilateral commission. Issues involving trade and economic cooperation are usually the main focus of these talks. During the latest visit, Putin and Wen signed more than 20 agreements on projects involving bilateral cooperation.

A joint communique was signed announcing the start of cooperation on ballistic missiles and missile delivery vehicles, as well as the establishment of cultural centers. There also were agreements on improving customs controls, developing high-speed train lines in Russia and cooperation between Russian and Chinese special economic zones.

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Sunday Book Review: “Fortunately, China is not a Russia”

Chen Weidong, the Executive VP of COSL, China’s leading oilfield services company, writing on the Energy Tribune:

“The Advantage of Petroleum in Russia” (US edition was published as “From Soviet to Putin and Back: The Dominance of Energy in Today’s Russia,” Energy Tribune Publishers) is another powerful book from my friend Michael Economides. We had discussed the possibility of publishing this book in Chinese last May right before the publication of the book in the U.S. Under the coordination of the Graduate School of China Social Sciences Academy and Huaxia Publishing Co., the Chinese version of this book has finally become reality.

For most of the last 100 years, since the Nobel family created the Russian petroleum industry in 1873, crude oil and natural gas have been Russia’s “pillar of power, the forever foundation of the state, and the lifeline of Russia.” In this book, Professor Economides and his co-author, Russia and former Soviet Union specialist Donna D’Aleo, with their broad knowledge of petroleum and geopolitics, have showed us a panorama of life and death, success and failure of Russian petroleum industry with rich history, clear logic, and abundant events.

Russia and China not only have very deep historical roots, they also have the advantage of being complementary strategic superpowers, especially in the energy and petroleum fields. I have been thoroughly entranced by the stories in the book about the petroleum elites, cruel wars and political struggles made very lively by the authors’ narrative and their humorous and philosophical comments. After finishing the reading, I whispered to myself: “fortunately China is not a Russia.” Herewith, a few more thoughts.

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EDITORIAL: Russia, Through the Looking Glass


Russia, Through the Looking Glass

Something very strange, something that ought to make the Kremlin’s blood run cold (well, colder) has been happening recently in Russia. The price of oil has been rising, but the stock market has been falling. That’s not supposed to happen.

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Latynina on Russia’s China Problem

Given that Russia expelled Solzhenitsyn and chucked Dostoevsky into a concentration camp, while lionizing mass murder Joseph Stalin and electing Vladimir Putin, a proud KGB spy, as its president, it’s pretty clear that the country has a good bit of difficulty telling friend from foe.  Writing in the Moscow Times hero journalist Yulia Latynina shows that the problem carries over into foreign policy as well.

President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed that Europe reform its system of collective security. The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe trashed the idea, voting 55-1 against it. Why? Because an odd suggestion was hidden behind the phrase “reform the system of collective security” — namely that NATO be prohibited from expanding its membership, European countries lose their right to deploy U.S. missiles on their territory, but Russia be allowed to do whatever it wants. After the Georgia war, the proposal sounded especially unconvincing.

Russia has two major problems: China and the Caucasus.

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China, Rethinking Russia

Dmitry Shlapentokh, an associate professor of history at Indiana University, writing in the Moscow Times:

Second honeymoons rarely, if ever, recapture the zest of lost love. Yet ever since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, Russia and China have sought to rekindle the close relations that once supposedly existed between the two countries before Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in 1956. But the renewed China-Russian marriage always smacked more of convenience — aimed as it was at checking U.S. hegemony –than of true romance. Now Russia’s invasion of Georgia has shattered even the illusion of attraction.

In 1969, the Chinese and Soviet armies exchanged fire across their disputed border. Recently, the two countries signed an agreement that seemed to put an end to their long border dispute. The agreement was a sort of follow-up to the visit to Beijing of President Dmitry Medvedev, who made China one of his first official trips abroad after being elected president.

During Vladimir Putin’s presidency, Chinese and Russian troops engaged in joint military maneuvers, and the two countries became dominant powers in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, which, to some Western observers, looked like an effort to counterbalance NATO. There were also years of “Russia in China” and “China in Russia” cultural exchanges, meant to underscore that the two countries were tied together not just by geopolitical pragmatism, but by genuine cultural and historical ties as well.

But the fact is that 17 years of high-level bilateral cooperation have produced little of substance. Indeed, in the wake of the invasion of Georgia, Beijing may be seriously rethinking its relations with Moscow. It may not yet be ready to embark on a full-fledged policy of “containment,” but in the wake of the dismemberment of Georgia — and with Russia claiming a zone of “privileged influence” throughout the former Soviet world — China clearly views Russia as an emerging strategic threat.

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Putin’s China Blunder

The International Herald Tribune reports on Vladmir Putin’s cosmically stupid China blunder:

Russia’s military success against Georgia is having repercussions that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his stand-in president, Dmitri Medvedev, surely do not welcome. Simply put, Putin has alienated China and other countries that share his interest in countering U.S. power.

The Asian Development Bank, in which China plays a leading role, has extended a $40 million loan at the lowest possible rate to Georgia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization – which includes China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as well as Russia – refused to countenance Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions of Georgia. The rebuff of Putin is all the more striking because – at least from Putin’s perspective – the central purpose of this group was to form an eastern counterweight to NATO.

China and the Central Asian states may share the Kremlin’s resentment of American dominance in the world, but they are not so eager to construct a multipolar world that they will act against their national interests.

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The Sunday Travel Section: If Russia Thinks its New Ally is China, it had Better Think Again

In a pathological manner, Russia has spent the last few months infuriating and alienating the Western world. Some think Russia is turning East. Maybe it thinks so itself. But blogger Paul Gobel shows that the East has quite different ideas.

Tourism officials in Moscow have expressed outrage that Chinese tour guides working in the Russian capital have described Russians as “wild men, drunkards and idlers” and Russia’s history as that of “a barbarian kingdom which illegally took away the Far East and Siberia from China.”

But as of today, more senior Russian officials appear to have decided not to make a diplomatic issue out of this case but rather to impose stricter licensing requirements on those who guide Chinese visitors around Moscow and other portions of the Russian Federation.

At least so far, this issue, raised by interviews given by Russian tourism officials in the current issue of the Russian nationalist newspaper “Tvoi den’,” and so far discussion of it has been confined almost entirely to the nationalist portion of the Russian Internet. But the officials’ anger suggests that it is likely to spread to mainstream media.

“Up to now,” Nadezhda Nazina, deputy head of Rosturizm, said, “only tour guides of Baltic delegations permitted themselves to make such comments. But in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, this is the policy of the government, but in this case, [she hoped], it is simply personal antipathy and ignorance of individual representatives of the Chinese Peoples Republic.” In a similar vein, Dmitriy Shul’tsev, the head of the Tourism Committee in the Moscow city government, expressed the hope that what had taken place reflected the failure of Chinese tour operators to recruit and train those who lead Chinese visitors to Russia in the proper way.

But Shul’tsev warned that the city of Moscow will demand significant improvements in this area, including requiring that all tour guides now be tested for their knowledge of Russian history before they are given their licenses to practice their trade in the Russian capital.
And both he and other Russian officials, “Tvoi Den’” reported, made clear that if it should turn out that the comments of the Chinese tour guides were not the work of individuals but reflected “the official policy” of China, then officers of Russian security agencies would be asked to get involved.

Point-Counterpoint: Is Russia like China?

Writing in the National Review, here’s Charles Krauthammer on Vladimir Putin in light of Borish Yeltsin:

Twenty years ago, Yeltsin made a strategic choice for democracy. Putin and his KGB regime have made a different strategic choice: the Chinese model. They watched two great powers take their exits from Communism—Maoist China and Soviet Russia—and decided the Chinese got it right.

They saw Deng Xiaoping liberalize the economy while maintaining centralized power—and achieve astonishing economic success. Then they saw Gorbachev do precisely the opposite—loosening the political system while keeping an absurdly inefficient Communist economy—and cause the collapse of the regime and the state.

Yeltsin’s uncertain, undisciplined, and corruption-ridden attempt to deregulate both the economy and the political system caused such chaos that during his tenure, GDP fell by half. So Putin decided to become Deng. And while Deng destroyed democratic hopes in one fell swoop at Tiananmen Square, Putin did so methodically and gradually. By the time his goons beat up opposition demonstrators in Moscow and St. Petersburg earlier this month, so little was left of Russian democracy that the world merely yawned.

Yeltsin is not the first great revolutionary to have failed at building something new. Nonetheless, it is worth remembering what he did achieve. He brought down not just a party, a regime, and an empire, but an idea. Communism today survives only in the lunatic kingdom of North Korea, in Fidel Castro’s personal satrapy and in the minds of such political imbeciles as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who can sustain his socialist airs only as long as he sits on $65 oil.

Outside of college English departments, no sane person takes Marxism seriously. Certainly not Putin and his KGB cronies. In the end, Yeltsin succeeded only in midwifing Russia’s transition from totalitarianism to authoritarianism with the briefest of stops for democracy—a far more modest advance than he (and we) had hoped, but still significant. And for which the Russian people—and the rest of the world spared the depredations of a malevolent empire—should forever be grateful.

Here’s the response of blogger Streetwise Professor:

The usually (very) sensible Charles Krauthammer compares Putin to China’s Deng Xiaoping. This comparison is way wide of the mark. The main similarity is that Deng and Putin took a non-idealogical approach to economic issues. Perhaps both view (or viewed) a strong economy as the foundation of a muscular state able to project power and restore their respective nations to Great Power status. These similarities in objectives do not extend to means.

Although China post-Deng has hardly respected the property rights of ordinary Chinese, it has not run roughshod over the property rights of investors, especially foreign investors, in the way that has become routine in Russia. China has not engaged in widespread expropriation. It has not dismantled leading corporations on false pretexts. Moreover, even though state owned enterprises are still prominent in China, that nation has been weaning (albeit slowly) inefficient nationalized companies from state support. In contrast, Russia is engaged in an aggressive effort to restore leading firms in every sector deemed “strategic” to state ownership and/or control.

In brief, while Putin may admire Chinese success in achieving strong economic growth while retaining state control over virtually all political activity, his means on the economic side are far different than those the Chinese have employed.

Nor has Russia achieved the same economic results as the Chinese. While Putin struts and crows about 6 percent economic growth over a handful of years, China has been growing at 8 percent for far longer. And Chinese growth has not been steroid (I mean to say energy price) enhanced. Russia’s growth is largely, though not completely, attributable to high energy prices. In contrast, high energy prices (driven to no small degree by robust Chinese demand) have constrained Chinese growth. Moreover, much recent Russian growth is catch-up from the economic collapses post-USSR and post-1998. Considering the windfall arising from strong energy prices, and that much of Russian growth reflects a return to more complete utilization of its economic capacity, rather than a growth in that capacity, and Russian growth looks much less impressive. Indeed, as Andrei Illironov has written, in the past two years Russian growth has lagged behind 12 of the 14 other post-USSR countries, most notably the Baltic states, but also other nations without the same human capital and natural resource endowments as the Russian Federation.

In brief, the Chinese transformation–and the Chinese model–are much different than the Russian. I am no Sinophile, and dislike that nation’s political system and much of its economic system, but viewed objectively it has done better than Putin’s Russia hands down. There are shaky supports to the Chinese economy–most notably its banking system–but it is on a far firmer footing than Russia’s. And Putin’s Commanding Heights-state driven-siloviki managed model will not encourage future economic growth. It is probably the best model if you are a former (or current) member of the state security apparatus looking to siphon rents, but it is far inferior to the Chinese model–and miles behind that dreaded Anglo-Saxon model–when it comes to providing broad-based economic growth that redounds to the benefit of the larger population.

Insofar as redounding to the benefit of the larger population is concerned, a couple of closing comments. First, there is no doubt that most Russians have seen a marked improvement in their standard of living. In this respect, Putin is reaping the benefits of very low expectations and the horrific experiences of the 1990s, as well as the aforementioned windfall from higher energy prices.

Second, as North et al emphasize in their analysis of the “natural state” (discussed here), there is a tension between an economy built on rent seeking and rent extraction that primarily benefits the connected elite but benefits the unconnected masses far less. Economic development that benefits a wide swath of the population that is largely deprived of political voice and representation is eventually what Avner Greif describes as “self-undermining.” Thus, natural states–of which Russia is an exemplar–are threatened by broad-based economic development that encourages the growth of a middle class.

And I think this is where Putin admires the Chinese most. They have heretofore succeeded navigating this tricky transition, and if Putin is looking east for inspiration, it is in this sphere where he is looking hardest. The ruthless campaign against any political opposition, no matter how puny, and the relentless drive to extend state control over great swaths of the economy in spite of the clearly adverse implications of this for economic growth, are manifestations of his strategy to maintain the natural state that benefits him and his fellow siloviki.

Annals of Cold War II: Russia and China

Financial Sense has an ominous article on the need for American vigilence against Russia and China:

History teaches that all nations, like all individuals, have a beginning and an end. No country is immortal. No nation is invincible. To make the point less delicately, America will one day cease to exist. And it may be useful, especially given the multiple crises now developing, to contemplate the mortality of the world’s most powerful country. What would the world be like without the United States? Would it be more violent or less violent? Would it be richer or poorer? Would there be more dictatorships in the world, or fewer, more freedom or more tyranny? The answers you give on these questions, if you are liable to have any answers, are ideologically defining.

There are those who claim that America’s destruction would be a good thing. The destroyers of America, by this reasoning, would be liberators and heroes. If we attempt to look at the case objectively, it is hard to think of America’s chief rivals for power as “liberators” in any sense of the word. China is a communist dictatorship and Russia is governed by thugs.

It is not nice to say that major powers like China or Russia seek the destruction of the United States. It is not nice to say that Russia and China are governed by thugs. But anyone who studies the foreign policies, chicanery, secret maneuvers and war preparations of Beijing and Moscow cannot honestly conclude otherwise. The fact that Russia and China are both assisting Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is more than suggestive. It is no accident that in America’s struggle against radical Islam, the Russian president has declared that Russia is Islam’s “best friend.” Before the fall of the Communist Party Soviet Union the central goal of Soviet foreign policy was to foster the downfall of the United States and the communization of the entire world. China, on the other hand, is a great country that suffered eclipse during the period of Western imperialism and colonialism. So China has reason to predicate its policy on the notion that “one good turn deserves another.” The reason for China’s opening to the West was not to enrich the Chinese bourgeoisie, or to adopt Western democratic values. The Chinese Communists sought an opening to the West so that they could get the investment capital and technology they needed for a modern military machine. Developing their economy is merely a necessary step in developing China’s new superpower status.

Some days ago China successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon. This remarkable capability didn’t develop overnight. As Washington Times correspondent Bill Gertz pointed out in his January 24 column, American defense officials concede that China’s Jan. 11 test is part of a “covert space-weapons program designed to cripple the U.S. military in a conflict.” The Chinese, to be sure, are publicly lying about the peacefulness of their intentions. “This test was not directed at any country and does not constitute a threat to any country,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Oh yes, we all know that China couldn’t possibly want to shoot down American satellites. Beijing merely enjoys the challenge of shooting down its own satellites for meaningless target practice. In that case, it was a also a “practice” exercise when Chinese hackers attacked U.S. Naval War College computers in November. As one U.S. official told Bill Gertz: “The Naval War College is where the Navy’s Strategic Study Group is planning and practicing cyber-war techniques, and now they don’t even have e-mail access.”

In a 1999 book titled Red Dragon Rising, researchers Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett wrote: “We are deeply disturbed that senior PLA [People’s Liberation Army] officers have begun to talk among themselves about a preemptive strike using information warfare. In 1996, for example, a writer in the PLA’s main newspaper pointed out that ‘the enemy’ has ‘reconnaissance positioning satellites, AWACs, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, long-range precision weapons’ but the PLA does not. A surprise attack, therefore, is not only justified but ‘is the only way to steer the course of the war in a direction favorable to China.’” Two years before 9/11, Temperlake and Triplett warned that a Chinese surprise attack on the United States “would be aimed at the American people – that is, the home front.”

Is this the policy of a peaceful and friendly nation?

Furthermore, China’s naval buildup directly threatens the economic lifelines of Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan. The Japanese have expressed alarm at the appearance of Chinese warships close to their shores. Is it possible that Chinese naval power might one day force East Asian nations into Beijing’s political orbit? According to Chinese president and commander-in-chief Hu Jintao, China needs a navy that is prepared for war “at any time.” At a meeting of Communist Party delegates in December, dressed in a green military uniform, Hu explained: “We should strive to build a strong navy that meets the needs of our military’s historical mission in this new century and at this new stage. We should make careful preparations for future military battles to ensure that our forces can effectively carry out their mission at any time.”

And what is this “historical mission” of the People’s Liberation Army? Believe it or not, Chinese Communism is sworn to destroy Western capitalism and build, in its place, a new socialist civilization. This has been a central doctrine of the Communist Party of China since its inception. The development of capitalism in China is merely a necessary expedient, accepted for the sake of capitalism’s ultimate demise. It is through trade that China is building its economic position, and thereby its military position. Western capitalists should look to their own survival. But this is something they take for granted. Many businessmen would say that U.S.-Chinese enmity is absurd. That is to say, they ignore China’s military buildup, China’s infiltration of Canada, China’s strategic alliance with Mexico, China’s “partnerships” with Russia and Iran. Here is a strategic “pattern” that deserves our close attention.

It is odd that Washington should worry more about Iran, when the butchers of Tiananmen Square are manufacturing thermonuclear weapons like sausages. So many nuclear weapons, and one big, fat, hollowed-out country to drop them on. Given the preparations of China, does anyone really suppose America is going to die a slow death at the hands of social reformers, lawyers and downsizing experts? Even if one supposes a gradual weakening of the Republic, wouldn’t some overseas power take advantage before the sick animal keels over? And since it really was the barbarians that finished off Rome, ask yourself who is most likely to finish off America?

What about the Russians? All the leading intelligence defectors and dissidents from Russia seem to agree that the Kremlin ordered the death of KGB/FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko. Nearly all of them think that the Soviet system is back in power. And the United States, with its ties to Europe weakened, with its global image in tatters, with its army stuck in Iraq, finds itself unable to oppose Russia’s policy in Europe and the Middle East. Under present circumstances, no American politician would suggest a return to the Cold War. And so, the Kremlin advances on every front, in broad daylight, unchallenged and unfettered – nationalizing industries, muzzling independent newspapers and silencing opposition voices with bullets and radioactive poison. What do we suppose the Russian leadership is up to?

When Nikita Khrushchev bragged of Moscow’s future victory almost fifty years ago, he said to his Western listeners, “Your grandchildren will live under Communism.” If we think the time of reckoning is a long way off, we ought to remember that we are the grandchildren Khrushchev was talking about. Soviet Russia’s long-range strategy didn’t expect quick results. It was predicated on patience, on decades of deception. America is now in a weakened economic and military position. The Great Crisis cannot be passed along to yet another generation, because things are coming to a head. The position of the United States is approaching a low point, and America’s enemies know it. On Tuesday Iranian President Ahmadinejad told Syria’s foreign minister: “the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives.” The end is near, he says. The time to strike is approaching. A BBC poll taken in 25 countries, involving 26,000 people, suggests that America is no longer as popular, as admired or favored as it once was. The tables have been turned and the dictators of the world are encouraged.

The number one security concern of the United States is the prospect of a massive terror assault against the American homeland using nuclear weapons. This is not a mythical threat. A successful assault against one city, killing five to fifty thousand people, would almost certainly trigger an unprecedented economic and political crisis in America. First, the dollar would lose its value. Second, cities would shut down and people would flee to the countryside. National paralysis and the collapse of entire industries could follow. A terrorist attack with nuclear weapons need only destroy a single city. The rest is accomplished by suggestion, by the psychological aftermath of history’s most profound failure. What government, what Constitution, could survive such a failure?

America is helpless, not knowing which way to turn as nuclear weapons are built and tested in one country after another. Some experts are afraid that America is going to launch a preemptive attack on Iran, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In the long run, all rogue regimes will acquire nuclear weapons. In the long run, terrorists will acquire nuclear weapons. Either they will be given the weapons, or Russian and Chinese special forces will place the weapons in America themselves, knowing that terrorists will be blamed. How could the United States retaliate if the attackers cannot be identified? And what becomes of Mutual Assured Destruction under such circumstances?

We already know from defector testimony that Russia’s war plan incorporates the use of false flag terrorist diversionary operations in the early stages of the next world war. GRU defector Viktor Suvorov explained long ago that such operations were referred to as “gray terror.” The fact that Ayman al-Zawahri was named as a longtime agent of the KGB is the icing on the nuclear cake (as it were). The fact that Alexander Litvinenko – the man who fingered Zawahri – was recently poisoned by polonium-210, underscores the hardscrabble reality of the nuclear terror game. The United States government and President Bush aren’t looking at the problem squarely. They are looking away from the main threat, toward a tertiary threat. This is a fatal error, because the war we are in isn’t simply a war against Muslim extremists. It is a much broader, more deceptive conflict.

The United States has never been nearer to destruction.