April 2010

Earlier this month, Nebojsa Malic got back from a two-week trip to his native Bosnia, and reported the following:

There wasn’t a day that Bosnian papers weren’t talking about the Big Bad Israel oppressing the poor innocent “Palestinians,” even when nothing particularly newsworthy was happening.

Meanwhile, in the Serbian half of Bosnia, we have the following from Chinese news agency Xinhua, via Serbianna.com

Srpska marks death camp anniversary, Apr 12, 2010

Republika Srpska marked the 65th anniversary of the uprising in Jasenovac concentration camp, one of the most brutal death camps of World War Two, in Donja Gradina, Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday.

Donja Gradina was the main burial site for the Jasenovac extermination camp located in the vicinity of a town by the same name. Jasenovac was established by the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during World War Two. The number of people slaughtered at Jasenovac, most of whom were Serbs, Jews, Roma and opponents of the Ustasha regime, totals in the hundreds of thousands.

About 1,000 prisoners rose up against their executioners on April 21-22, 1945, but only 118 escaped from the Jasenovac extermination facility operated by fanatical Croatian Ustasha allies of Adolf Hitler.

Top: Serbian children light up candles in memory of murdered Serbs by the Croatian state forces in Jasenovac death camp. Bottom: candle memorial for murdered Jews at the commemoration.

Speaking amid fields and mounds of mass graves of Serbian, Jewish and Roma victims of the Ustasha Croat genocide, Republika Srpska Premier Milorad Dodik said that the very existence of the Republika Srpska within Bosnia is a guarantee against any repetition of such crimes against the Serbs and all of its other residents, regardless of their ethnicity.

Premier Dodik said the existence of Republika Srpska represents the national will of the Serbian people and must therefore never be questioned. He said that while Serbs cannot forget nor forgive the Croatian-led genocide committed against them, they are ready and willing together with other nations for a world of peace.

Dodik said that for Bosnia to be a true home for its Serbian citizens, there must be a confession that the ultimate crime of genocide was committed against the Serbs in World War Two, during which Croatia occupied and annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as part of Serbia. He said the failure by Bosnia’s Croats and Muslims to accept any responsibility for the slaughter, coupled with the postwar failure to prosecute the perpetrators had blocked reconciliation and contributed to modern-day fighting across the entire region.

Speaking of the civil wars following the string of unilateral secessions from the former Yugoslavia, Dodik criticized what he described as an obvious anti-Serb bias in war crimes prosecutions that were conducted almost exclusively against the Serbs. He said that, “All of Bosnia’s nations suffered victims, but they also harbored perpetrators. So far, crimes have been attributed only to the Serbian people, which is certainly false,” Dodik said.

Dodik stressed that each crime committed in the region must be addressed in a court of law to demonstrate that the crimes are the acts of individuals and not the will of any nation, categorically rejecting the concept of a criminal or genocidal people.

The Serb representative in Bosnia’s three-member collective presidency, Nebojsa Radmanovic, underlined that the Serbs are not seeking revenge but are merely demanding that the full truth be told about both the recent civil war in the region and about World War Two. He called for action in both fields.

Belgrade rabbi Isak Asiel led a prayer for the Jewish victims of the massive Jasenovac camp system. Roma Culture Museum Director Dragoljub Ackovic dedicated his remarks to the Roma victims. Also joining them at the podium was Chairman Erim Balaila Ram Doron of a group representing former prisoners of war.

Among the high profile guests were Serbian President Boris Tadic, Republika Srpska President Rajko Kuzmanovic, and Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj. No Croatian officials attended the memorial ceremony.

A crowd of thousands included aging survivors, relatives of the dead, representatives of ethnic groups and international officials working in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They came from across the Balkan region by car and bus, walking in line to the ceremony along red pathways between graves now covered by green lawns. The death camp facility was demolished after the prisoner uprising in an effort to hide the crime.

April 11, 2010

And just another fun point of contrast, from last year:

Serb daily questions presence of Hamas people in Bosnia (Text of report by Bosnian Serb state-owned daily Glas Srpske, Jan. 21, BBC Monitoring Europe)

[Commentary by Goran Maunaga: “Hamas and B-H”]

Members of the Hamas terrorist organization, or rather the Islamic Resistance Movement which was set up in the Gaza strip in 1987, took part in the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina as part of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina. A large number of them stayed behind after the war and are still in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Several of them took part in anti-Israeli protests in Sarajevo the other day where they were seen chanting “Allahu Akbar [God is great].”

The Serb Republic [RS] does not approve of such protests and it was a good move on the part of RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik to publicly and officially convey this in a message to Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The basic and what any sensible man would consider as the most important difference between the ideologies and conduct of Israel and Hamas is that Israel is striving for peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians while Hamas’s goal is the destruction of Israel to the last Jew. And if the Palestinians themselves could not restrain the fascist Hamas which had for months been firing rockets at Israeli settlements, then without doubt Israel had no choice but to do it itself.

This is how the 22-day long “Israeli attack on the innocent people of Palestine” is viewed from where I stand.

Still, let us see what should be done with the Hamas members who have settled in Bosnia-Hercegovina, mainly in Sarajevo, and obviously feel at home here. What should be done with those Hamas members who were stripped of Bosnia-Hercegovina citizenship but have not yet been deported because the authorities do not know where they are hiding? There are also Hamas members who are here legally, but the question is what are they doing in this country? And another question: What to do with those Hamas members who had committed war crimes in Bosnia-Hercegovina?

All these questions should be answered by Zlatko Lagumdzija who, in order to atone for his role in the extradition of the Algerian Six to the Americans, has been more vociferous than even Haris Silajdzic in defending “our Palestinian brothers,” in other words Hamas, despite the fact that the majority of Palestinians disown them.

Since, in a desperate attempt to regain votes, Lagumdzija lumped together in the same basket “those who set up Auschwitz and those who attacked Sarajevo and Gaza,” we believe that he owed us an answer to the following question: Who in fact are Hamas and should they really be allowed to achieve their publicly proclaimed goal of destroying Israel to the last Jew?

For archiving purposes, I’m reprinting a post I wrote for Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs blogs:

An analysis published last Monday by Defense & Foreign Affairs offers some corroboration for the Georgia-hosted, U.S.-approved jihadi confab in December, the mention of which seemed to upset some readers.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the 16-page analysis, which is subscription-only and therefore not linkable:

Meanwhile, Georgia is actively seeking to exploit the spread of jamaats [jihadist mini-societies] in the North Caucasus in order to go after the Russian pipelines in hope of ensnaring the US into actively supporting a new confrontation with Russia. In early December 2009, Tbilisi organized a high-level meeting of jihadists groups from the Middle East and Western Europe in order “to coordinate activities on Russia’s southern flank.” The Georgian Embassy in Kuwait, for example, arranged for travel documents for jihadists from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. (There is a large and very active Chechen/Circassian community in Jordan since the 19th Century that is heavily represented in the intelligence services and the military.) In Tbilisi, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Lordkipanadze was the host and coordinator. The meeting was attended by several Georgian senior officials who stressed that Saakashvili himself knew and approved of the undertaking. The meeting addressed the launch of both “military operations” in southern Russia and ideological warfare. One of the first results of the meeting was the launch, soon afterwards of the Russian-language TV station First Caucasian.

The jihadists of the North Caucasus — including the Arab commanders in their midst — came out of the early December 2009 meeting convinced that Tbilisi is most interested in the spread of terrorism. The meeting was attended by, among others, Mohmad Muhammad Shabaan, an Egyptian senior commander who is also known as Seif al-Islam and who has been involved in Caucasus affairs since 1992. He took copious notes. According to Shabaan’s notes, the Georgian government wants the jihadists to conduct “acts of sabotage to blow up railway tracks, electricity lines and energy pipelines” in southern Russia in order to divert construction back to Georgian territory.

Georgian intelligence promised to facilitate the arrival in the Caucasus of numerous senior jihadists by providing Georgian passports, and to provide logistical support including the reopening of bases in northern Georgia. Russian intelligence was not oblivious of the meeting. Seif al-Islam and two senior aides were assassinated on February 4, 2010. The Russians retrieved a lot of documents in the process. Moscow signaled its displeasure shortly afterwards when the presidents of Russia and Abkhazia signed a 50-year agreement on a Russian military base in order to “protect Abkhazia’s sovereignty and security, including against international terrorist groups”.

A major issue still to be resolved is the extent of the US culpability.

The same analysis recalls when this misguided approach was used in the Balkans, and outlines how, in order to not alienate Muslims while we tried to contain terror from the Middle East, we fortified terror in the Balkans and jump-started the global jihad:

Initially, the US-led Western intervention in the former Yugoslavia was aimed first and foremost to salvage NATO (and with it US dominance over post-Cold War Western Europe) from irrelevance and collapse. As well, the support for the Muslims of Bosnia became the counter-balance of the US confrontation with jihadism in the Middle East. Anthony Lake, US President Bill Clinton’s National Security Adviser, formulated the logic for the US-led intervention on behalf of the Muslims. The US national interest “requires our working to contain Muslim extremism, and we have to find a way of being firm in our opposition to Muslim extremism while making it clear we’re not opposed to Islam. If we are seen as anti-Muslim, it’s harder for us to contain Muslim extremism. And if we stand by while Muslims are killed and raped in Bosnia, it makes it harder to continue our policy,” Lake argued. That in the process the US would end up partnering with, supporting and arming, the very same jihadist forces Clinton was seeking to contain meant nothing to Washington. The only thing Washington cared about was the image of a US rallying to the rescue of a Muslim cause.

Note that in the 90s the U.S., like Britain, permitted and facilitated terrorist networks to operate in Bosnia and Kosovo for the purpose of Serb-killing, and along with Germany we trained Albanian and Middle Eastern terrorists in Albania. Sure enough, the same decade saw U.S. officials participating in a December 1999 meeting in Azerbaijan very similar to the December 2009 meeting in Tbilisi, where “programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon.” The mention of this meeting comes in as the analysis gives background on how we decided to support terrorism against Russia:

By 1999, the US had given up on reconciling Azerbaijan and Armenia in order to construct pipelines to Turkey, and instead Washington started focusing on building pipelines via Georgia.

For such a project to be economically viable, the Russian pipelines would have to be shut down. Hence, in early October 1999, senior officials of US oil companies and US officials offered representatives of Russian “oligarchs” in Europe huge dividends from the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline if the “oligarchs” convinced Moscow to withdraw from the Caucasus, permit the establishment of an Islamic state, and close down the Baku-Novorossiysk oil pipeline. Consequently, there would be no competition to the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The “oligarchs” were convinced that the highest levels of the Clinton White House endorsed this initiative. The meeting failed because the Russians would hear nothing of the US proposal.

Consequently, the US determined to deprive Russia of an alternate pipeline route by supporting a spiraling violence and terrorism in Chechnya….The Clinton White House sought to actively involve the US in yet another anti-Russian jihad as if reliving the “good ol’ days” of Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, seeking to support and empower the most virulent anti-Western Islamist forces in yet another strategic region.

In mid-December 1999, US officials participated in a formal meeting in Azerbaijan in which specific programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon. This meeting led to Washington’s tacit encouragement of both Muslim allies (mainly the intelligence services of Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia) and US “private security companies” (of the type that did Washington’s dirty job in the Balkans while skirting and violating the international embargo the US formally supported) to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in spring 2000. Citing security concerns vis-à-vis Armenia and Russia, Azerbaijan adamantly refused to permit training camps on its soil.

Now, just to keep our — including my — heads straight, let’s remind ourselves that this exercise was not a defense of Russia; it was not meant to start an argument about how bad or how not-that-bad Russia is. The point is that foreign relations in a mad world require finding enough common ground with not-so-great states so that we can work together where we can work together. It’s to minimize the messiness of things. Why, when we had Russia in its historically most maleable form, did we insist on provoking and provoking and provoking? Why did we make a bad situation like Russia worse when we had an opportunity to make it better? As with all problematic countries that we nonetheless find areas of cooperation with, we narrowed even those areas by dealing with the Russians in the bad faith that had been their trademark. Simultaneously, we moved away from picking the lesser evil in a given conflict, and started siding with the greater.

It’s a surreal situation indeed when the actions of my savior country put me in the position of having to “defend” Russia, whose people my parents thank their lucky stars to not have to live among anymore. I myself am a self-proclaimed Russophobe; I just had no idea how much more pathological America’s Russophobia is. So for someone who is loath to visit even Brighton Beach, I find myself in a surprising position here, pointing out where we went wrong and shoved Russia back into old behaviors.

Infuriatingly predictably, some comment posters suggested that the line I’m taking here is one that’s paid for by Russia. The same “tip” was offered to Robert by a fellow blogger — in that tone of providing “some friendly, professional, and cautionary advice.” The likes of which I’m all too familiar with by now. (One Wall St. Journal fixture advised me, “Your views on this [the Balkans] are deeply misjudged…You’re not doing your career any favors.” Thanks. Good thing I don’t have a career, then.) It certainly would be nice if anyone paid me for anything I do, but it wasn’t to be in this lifetime.

Regardless, it shouldn’t seem strange for someone to be pointing out that our foreign policy is being guided by people with a stronger anti-Russian agenda than anti-jihad agenda. And notice where this kind of thinking has gotten us. Take the past two decades of Western policy and media coverage in the Balkans, which were based on information that made its way into reporters’ notebooks directly from the Ministry of Information of the Bosnian Government run by the fundamentalist Muslim wartime president Alija Izetbegovic. The template was used again when politicians, reporters, NGOs and human rights organizations dutifully repeated what was coming out of the KLA-run newspapers and other propaganda organs of the Kosovo separatists. And so in service to consistency, having gotten into this hole, we’ve kept digging. With our Yugoslavia intervention, as the Defense & Foreign Affairs analysis points out, we’ve ended up “demonizing the Serbs and the world of Eastern Christianity as a whole.” Such that we’ve arrived at a place where the word “Byzantine” is now used to mean primitive or uncivilized. While the Muslim world and Islamic heritage represent the height of culture, tradition, heritage and civilization.

One interesting thing about the reactions to calling the U.S. on its aggressive alienation of Russia via, for example, the use of jihadists is the sense of outrage and shock at the suggestion that America would support these violent groups, followed immediately by a defense or justification of such tactics (e.g. “we *should* help the Chechens against the Russians”). Meanwhile, these oh-so-incendiary allegations happen to coincide with overtly stated intentions and policies. (See the late Senator Tom Lantos and his ilk applauding the creation of a U.S.-made Muslim state in Europe, which the jihadists should “take note of,” Lantos hoped.)

From author Joanne Wannan:

I have recently published a book called NEW LIVES: Stories of Rescued Dogs Helping, Healing and Giving Hope. It tells of 18 dogs that were rescued from shelters and the streets, who are now working in animal therapy and as service dogs. The book reflects my passion for shelter animals, and my firm belief that all animals deserve respect and are worthy of a second chance.

The book is available on Amazon.com, as well as on my website: www.3BlackDogs.org

We are in the process of doing an official “launch” for NEW LIVES, and during the month of April, a total of 30% of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to animal rescues.

However, we have run into a bit of a snag! Because of the economic crisis, the book sales are *slow*. So, unfortunately, the donation to animal rescue may not be as great as we had hoped!

Because of this, I am writing to everyone I know, asking if they could lend a “paw” to help promote the book. It will only take a few minutes of your time (I promise!) but could make a world of difference to animals in need.

To help spread the word, all you need to do cut and paste the email below and send it to your family and friends, and anyone else you can think of!

*———-Sample Email—————-*

I wanted to tell you about a new book that I think you would enjoy. The book is called New Lives: Stories of Rescued Dogs Helping, Healing and Giving Hope. It’s a book that will make you laugh and cry, but more importantly it’s a book that will inspire and encourage you to help give an animal a second chance and a new life.

During the month of April, a total of 30% of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to animal rescues. What a great time to buy the book – either for yourself, or as gifts for your animal-loving friends. Not only is it a “great read,” but you will feel good knowing you are helping to give more animals a second chance.

The book is available on Amazon.com . You can check out here: http://bit.ly/bpSQwf

You can learn more about Joanne and the book on her blog: InspiringRescueStories.com

Thank you, on behalf of homeless animals everywhere.

*About the Book*

NEW LIVES: Stories of Rescued Dogs Helping, Healing and Giving Hope, by Joanne Wannan, presents of stories of hope and inspiration – where the “underdog” really does triumph in the end! The heroes in the book are an unlikely assortment of dogs who were rescued from shelters and the streets. They have gone on to love, serve, and in some cases save the lives of the compassionate individuals welcomed these abandoned canines into their hearts and lives.

The book tells of the amazing ways these rescued dogs are working as animal therapists or as service dogs, and how lives – both human and canine – are forever changed. One is Leo, a pit bull rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation, who now visits patients in a chemotherapy ward, and acts as an ambassador for all dogs at a facility for juvenile delinquents.Another is an abandoned canine who went on to become a service dog for a hearing impaired gentleman. Not only does Beans alert her owner to the doorbell and
telephone - she actually saved his life by waking him up and alerting him to a fire!

The foreword is written by Dr. Marty Becker, resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul. Cover endorsements are from the ASPCA and the Humane Society. This book is a testament to the powerful bond between humans and dogs, and affirms the belief that it is never to late for miracles.

The home page of this book, released today on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, summarizes the book:

Did Christianity play any role in the millenarian hatred towards Jews that led to the paroxysm of murder known as the Holocaust?

Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Antisemitism Paved the Road to the Holocaust provides an answer to the question, “What could have possibly motivated ordinary Germans and their helpers throughout Nazi-occupied Europe to hate Jews so much as to drag thousands of Jewish men, women and children to a forest, and shoot them in the head at close range one by one, getting blood, pieces of brain and splinters of cranial bone splattered all over them after each victim, and continue to do it all day long, day after day?”

Six Million Crucifixions examines the root causes of antisemitism in Christianity and how that prepared the soil for the secular antisemitism that culminated in the Holocaust. The book covers the last two thousand years of history, from the origins of this hatred all the way to the advent of modern antisemitism. It also covers the role of the Churches during the Holocaust, and the role of the Vatican in setting up escape routes for wanted war criminals after WWII. Six Million Crucifixions concludes by making the point that after the Holocaust the Allies should have set up an international trial and put any and all clergymen who may have had a role in the defamation of and incitement against the Jewish people, as well as those who helped wanted Nazis escape Justice and other charges, on the dock.

Readers of this blog know that I have a pro-Christian orientation, and that there are major distinctions between Christianity and its Catholic subset, which seems to be the focus of much of the book. It’s also important to remember that it was genuine Christianity that guided the consciences of many Christian (and Catholic) Europeans during WWII to harbor and save Jews. Let me also say that I think it’s more productive these days to worry more about Islamic anti-Semitism than Christian anti-Semitism — as it is to worry more about the anti-Semitism of the leftist “secular humanists” who populate the readership of, for example, the Huffington Post, where I first communicated with the author of the book. (Indeed, the modern-day Passion Play touring the world is titled “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” inciting hatred and enmity toward Israel and the Jews through distorted and selective information.)

But I suppose that since the Christian world has taken its cues from Islam before (and with regard to the Middle East and the Balkans, often still does), and since the Catholic Church has historically ganged up with Islam against Jews and Orthodox Christians, it wouldn’t hurt to get a reminder of how anti-Semitic thinking infiltrated and proliferated throughout society institutionally by Christianities of the past. And that’s what this book offers. So while stressing that I would sooner place my life in the hands of a Christian than a non-Christian — whether atheist or Muslim — let me introduce the author of this important work, Gabriel Wilensky, whom I “met” when he posted the following comment under my Jerusalem Post article “Mass Grave of History” after it also appeared on Huffington Post:

That [WWII Croatian Ustasha leader Ante] Pavelic was such a devout Catholic, who was received by Pope Pius XII in April 1941, led the British Foreign Office to describe the Pope as “the greatest moral coward of our age.” As the Foreign Office later told the British ambassador to the Holy See, the Pope’s reception of Pavelić “has done more to damage his reputation in this country than any other act since the war began.” The immorality of support for the Ustasha regime crossed the threshold into criminality when the Vatican established the ratlines with the help of Ustasha priests and members of the Catholic hierarchy to spirit wanted war criminals out of Europe after the war.

The role of the Catholic Church in regards to Slovakia should not be forgotten either. A Catholic priest [Jozef Tiso] ruled Slovakia and he and his regime were instrumental in the disenfranchisement of the Jewish population of Slovakia, the passing of anti-Jewish laws that constituted grave civil rights violations, and the deportation of Slovakia’s Jews to their deaths in German death camps. The Vatican made some token gestures to show concern about all this, but their concern was with the potential damage to the Church’s reputation, not the fate of those Jews.

Gabriel Wilensky

More information about the book can be found in the following press release, pegged to the current scandal in the Catholic Church:

A Convenient Silence is Nothing New for the Vatican

San Diego, Cal – April 9, 2010 – Some orders of Catholic monks take a vow of silence. Recent events surrounding a widespread child sex abuse scandal and the Catholic Church make it seem as if Pope Benedict has taken one too.

This is not the first time a pope has stood by silently while the innocent were victimized. Popes Pius XI and XII did nothing or very little to protect the Jews during World War II. Yet, the current Pope is pushing through a rushed canonization of Pius XII, despite calls even from Catholic scholars to slow down the process until all the documents from the period can be scrutinized.

“The Vatican Secret Archives for the WWII period need to be opened as soon as possible,” says Gabriel Wilensky, author of “Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust.”

Father John Pawlikowski, who was the lead Catholic scholar who wrote Pope Benedict imploring further research prior to the canonization process continuing, is among the 13 scholars who have endorsed Wilensky’s book. Two of the 17 other signatories of the letter to the pope have also endorsed “Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust.”

“Covering up allegations and not punishing pederast priests is the wrong thing to do for anyone, but particularly for an institution who is the self-proclaimed protector of morals,” continues Wilensky. “Pope Benedict should learn from the mistakes of Pope Pius XII. Being a silent observer is no longer an option.”

Following his life-long fascination and study of the Holocaust and Christianity’s teachings about the Jews, Wilensky has produced a methodical, well-structured and hard-hitting book examining the root causes of antisemitism in Christianity so that history may never be repeated by those who do not learn from it.

Questions Wilensky and other scholars would like answers about Pope Pius XII include:

• Why didn’t the Pope make a clearly worded condemnation of the genocide, and repeat it at every possible occasion?

• Did Pope Pius ever admonish Catholics passively or actively involved in mass murder to cease and desist or else they would be excommunicated from the Catholic Church?

• How much did Pope Pius know of the “Ratlines,” the Vatican escape routes for wanted
war criminals?

“Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust” is now available from online booksellers and select bookstores as a hardcover (ISBN 978-0-9843346-4-3) and an eBook.

For more information on “Six Million Crucifixions: How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust,” or to arrange an interview with Gabriel Wilensky, please contact Yazmin Ghonaim [at] yazmin@qwertypublishers.com.

This is a cross-post of an item I wrote for Jihad Watch:

After JW posted my item last week calling attention to the Washington Times advertisement penned by my friend Jim Jatras — which revealed a Georgia-hosted jihadist conference in December — my own attention was called to a comment posted under the item by “Jewdog,” which read:

The US support of the Balkan Muslims was done for alleged moral reasons, as there was no discernable strategic benefit.

That is not the case in the Caucasus. Opposing Russia is a strategic imperative since Russia is a supplier of Iran’s nuclear project and sells advanced weaponry to Syria and other jihadist elements. Russia is driven by an anti-Western animus, thinking like the imperialists that they have always been, viewing the West as an obstacle to their hegemony. That’s why Russia was aligned with Nazi Germany during WWII, until attacked.

Russia will do anything, morality be damned, to advance its imperial interests, and in that sense is like Islam.
I think that as distasteful as it is, we need to support the Chechens against Russia. Let’s remember that Osama bin Laden(pbuh) did a great job in Afghanistan, which helped bring down the Soviet Union.

Without Russian and Chinese technology, the global jihad will be a lot less dangerous. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

I know, it’s very risky and somewhat cynical, but sometimes you have use chemo to kill cancer.

Because the argument can be mistaken for being reasonable-sounding, I thought it important to point out what’s actually wrong with it.

Firstly, the strategic benefit in the Balkans was to kiss Muslim tush and show them that we are not their enemies: “See? We can kill Christians too!”

Second, the Soviet Union, not Russia, was aligned with the Nazis. But speaking of Germany, using the comment poster’s logic, we should have bombed Germany instead of the Serbs during the Balkan wars, as they were supporting the Nazi Croats and Muslims — continuing WWII in a sense.

Third, by Jewdog’s “logic,” the Russians should support jihad attacks on us, because we support our “friends” in Saudi Arabia whose Wahhabist ideology inspires attacks on Russia.

So Russia and China supplying weapons for Jihad is bad, but the US supplying weapons for Jihad is good? ( “We need to support the Chechens against Russia”?!) This can only come from a Westerner who has no concept of what a Chechen is, and believe me it’s something terrifying. Suffice it to say that there are Islamic militants who know enough to be scared of a Chechen.

Meanwhile, after bombing the Serbs under false pretenses and taking their land — all while telling Russia to take it easy on the Chechens — why would Russia listen to anything we have to say? What reason is there for Russia to deal with us in good faith or to not be spiteful?

Historically, yes, Russia has been driven by “anti-Western animus,” but I seem to recall a rather historical moment when there was a break in that attitude for several years starting in 1991. An opportunity to be seized on, everyone said. Others have pointed out that this was a time when Russia allowed the Berlin Wall to come down and the regimes in Russia’s sphere of influence to be tossed out; a time when the Russian military retreated to Russia proper and the empire broke itself down into separate states; and a time when the Communists made room for other parties and lost power. Freedom and capitalism ruled the day, and the Russians looked to America to show them the way.

In return, we utilized the Russia-hostile NATO alliance in an aggressive war on a Slavic nation that was finally responding to decades of sustained terrorism within its borders. Spitting in the eye of Moscow’s objections, we touted America’s birth to a criminal and Muslim state in Southeast Europe. All the while, Moscow warned us repeatedly of the S. Ossetia — and other — domino effects of our Kosovo actions, and we laughed in its face.

But back to my wider point: We hear about Russia’s turn for the worse. And it’s precisely that: a turn. So, Jewdog, let’s resist the temptation to take what Russia is doing today as an after-the-fact justification for our alienating it so completely first, starting from the moment it lost the Cold War. There are reasons for this “slide backwards” — another revealing term that is a tacit admission that in fact there had been “progress” and steps taken “forward” by Russia. What’s happening today was not an inevitability, it was not the only possible outcome — in fact, in the 90s it would have seemed like the least-possible outcome. So those who would have us believe that Russia is simply continuing an uninterrupted course of imperialism are being disingenuous. (See Jewdog referring to the Russians as “the imperialists that they have always been, viewing the West as an obstacle to their hegemony.”) Again, there was an interruption in bad Russian behavior. But not only did we squander the opportunity, we betrayed the gesture.

Americans must start to understand why and how the Russo-American rift happened, and that if we change our behavior, it’s still possible to salvage at least some possible Russo-American cooperation, especially when it comes to what we should have long ago acknowledged as our common enemy. Mind you, my essentially blaming America here does not come from a member of the Blame-America-First crowd. Indeed, it took me until I was into my 30s to ever blame America for anything. But today’s world could have been a less messy one, if only we had behaved more civilly at a time when it could have had an impact in the course of events.

But with the culmination of our bad behavior — namely when we got the world to gang up and bomb Slavs — on behalf of a tribe of criminals, mobsters, jihadists, clansmen, fascists and marxists as represented by the KLA — we told Russia loud and clear: We prefer primitive gangsters to you, and we will use them against you and other Slavs.

Recall the standoff at the Pristina airstrip, where WW3 could have been set off had Russia not been in a weak position. That was a defining revelation that the U.S. had no intention of changing course from marking Russia as Enemy No. 1. Rather than work together to face the new and more dangerous and intractable threat of worldwide jihad, we just kept getting tougher on Russia. Is it any surprise, then, that it’s gone in the direction it has?

We have been working diligently to mold Russia into the beast we so want it to be, giving us the non-Muslim enemy we so crave since the end of the Cold War. All while being too weak-kneed to deal with the real threat, and therefore trying to deceive ourselves that the real threat can be an “ally” against rival powers such as Russia. No anecdote illustrates this better than when Condoleezza Rice implied in June 2008 that the U.S. and Russia have no common values — just two months after giving a speech attesting to the “universal values” that both the West and Muslims hold dear. It was delivered to the OIC, that Saudi-based organization of unfree states known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference. No one ever wonders why it was that Condoleezza Rice’s former students — Russian immigrants and exchange students who idolized her during the Cold War for her tough stance — lost respect for her by 2007, expressing deep disappointment.

The big tragedy here is that U.S. mischief in the Balkans in the 90s has showed the world — and all its badasses — that there really is no standard of behavior. America used to be that standard; we used to be the conscience of the world, making evildoers at least think twice or be embarrassed by their evil-doing. But we demonstrated that the world is a free-for-all. Indeed, America as we once knew her has been in a coma for the past 20 years.

Because Russia is historically a bad guy, it’s very easy to obfuscate what’s really going on here. But the truth is that we’ve made a fine mess of Russia.

And so it is that even an approach to Iran is more welcome than a real reset with Russia, as this Newsweek article written during the Georgia-Russia conflict makes clear. The piece quotes Iran scholar Vali Nasr: “We talk as if Iran is the biggest threat, but we act as if Russia is.”