Tuesday, September 07, 2004


The US-Israel-Russia Troika

In the wake of the horror in Beslan, the Russian, Israeli, and US governments have turned yet another tragedy into a propagandistic call for uniting against terrorism. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Israel visiting with Ariel Sharon yesterday.
Even in last week's interview, however, Lavrov said that Russia is interested in closer cooperation with Israel on terrorism. "Our countries are both in the crosshair of terrorism," he said. "To fight this universal evil in a vigorous way is one of the areas where we can and should unite our efforts. During the forthcoming visit, we'll sign a memorandum on the deepening of cooperation between our foreign ministries, which provides the framework for the functioning of an anti-terrorism working group."


In a telephone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, Sharon offered condolences for the attack, and called for expanded intelligence coordination between the two countries. He said that "cooperation is essential in the fight against the dangerous phenomenon of terror, which does not distinguish [among victims] and harms women and children," according to a statement issued by his office.
Interestingly, Lavrov commented:
"[The] fight against terrorism has nothing in common with [the] fight against Islam," he added. "To present this fight as a kind of a religious conflict or a clash of civilizations would only play into the hands of terrorists who in reality have neither national nor religious identity."
While an Israeli official stated: "They understand now that what they have is not a local terror problem but part of the global Islamic terror threat." Whoah whoah whoah, slow down there buddy. So which is it? Yoel Marcus writes, in a Ha'aretz op-ed trashing Europe for failing to understand the international war on terrorism, that:
The world has known all kinds of terror since World War II: anarchists like Danny the Red and Carlos; the Irish, the Basques and the Palestinians, spurred on by nationalism. But those who have inflated terror to its current proportions - murdering indiscriminately, shooting helpless children, choosing random targets - are the Muslims, and to what aim no one has entirely figured out.
Marcus then goes on to paraphrase Bernard Lewis in a manner even more racist than Lewis himself openly suggests. Marcus then lauds Bush for not 'beating around the bush' by declaring an Axis of Evil (last time I checked, North Korea was hardly a Muslim nation or an Islamic regime) and then goes on to criticize Saudi Arabia (with whom Bush has been pretty close if I remember correctly). Marcus concludes:
Israel is both a victim and a member of the Bush brigade, a tiny link in a family of nations determined to defend itself against the scourge of terror. In the eyes of this family, there is no such thing as justified and unjustified terror. Terror is terror. The entire Western world is a potential target.
First of all, isn't that cute. Little ole Israel, a tiny link in a family of nations. So here we have the budding alliance, the trio of heroes (the US, Israel, and Russia) willing to stand up to those bullies in the Axis of Evil (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea).

Let me say that it seems hard to build an argument that Islamic terror randomly strikes at the Western world with this set-up. Sure, there are those that want to destroy the "Western world" in the name of Islam. But there seems to be a connection between the grievences of the Chechens against Russia and Chechen attacks inside Russia. There seems to be a connection between the grievences of the Palestinians against Israel and Palestinian attacks inside Israel. To propose terror as some sort of vague, non-political, borderless threat is to ignore all evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, it seems that the 'Western world' doesn't have it nearly as bad as all that. I'm sure most Iraqis would trade their 'liberation' for the 'insecurity' of Western Europe these days.

Appropriately, Yoel Marcus's op-ed is titled "On Terror and Hypocrisy" - two things that truly unite the US, Russia, and Israel.

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