Saturday, September 04, 2004

The U.S. and Russia, Allies in the War on Terror?

Earlier, I used news of the grievous tragedy in Baslan, Russia, in making a point about civil-liberties extremists and their willingness to leave us exposed to terrorism. I did so because I am deeply affected by what happened in Baslan. It enrages me, just as the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 in the U.S., the terrorist attacks of 3/11/04 in Spain, the continuing wave of terrorist attacks in Iraq, and seemingly countless other terrorist attacks enrage me.

President Bush has said he will never relent in the war on terror. Now Russia's President Putin -- unlike Spain's socialist prime minister -- has declared a Russian war on terror:
"What happened was a terrorist act that was inhuman and unprecedented in its cruelty," Putin said in his televised speech later. "It is a challenge not to the president, the parliament and the government but a challenge to all of Russia, to all of our people. It is an attack on our nation."...

He said Russians could no longer live "carefree" and must all confront terrorism.

He called for Russians to mobilize against what he said was the "common danger" of terrorism. Measures would be taken, Putin promised, to overhaul the law enforcement organs, which he acknowledged had been infected by corruption, and tighten borders.

"We are obliged to create a much more effective security system and to demand action from our law enforcement organs that would be adequate to the level and scale of the new threats," he said.
Whatever Putin and the Russians actually do about terror, we should take to heart Putin's diagnosis of what led to Baslan: "We showed weakness, and weak people are beaten."

Imagine the strength of a true alliance between the U.S. and Russia aimed at encircling and destroying terrorists. Imagine the strength of a true anti-terrorist alliance among all major nations. Let us hope that it doesn't take more 9/11s, 3/11s, and Baslans to make it happen.