Questions We Must Ask
On October 17, the New York Times devoted much space to President Clinton's plan to build a large missile-tracking radar facility for Russia as inducement to renegotiate the ABM Treaty of 1972.
The AB... what treaty?
Research reveals an Antiballistic Missile Treaty to have been signed by the United States of America and one Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Alas, repeated inquiries addressed to the United Nations have failed to turn up a country by that name.
Treaties, like contracts, require two sides for their existence. It appears that this treaty has only one.
But wait - a surrogate, called the Russian Federation, has been invited to step into the breach. Question One: If the United States is not happy with the treaty, why pretend it exists at all? Why deal with a surrogate, instead of leaving well alone?
Now, in case someone comes forward to claim that the Russian Federation is legal successor to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, here is Question Two:
In the course of the twentieth century, our nation faced two mortal enemies, both spawned by socialism: the USSR and the Third Reich. An all-out war defeated the latter in three-and-a-half years. The former waged war against America, in one fashion or another, over six decades. The purpose of the war was "to bury the United States." Rifle practice for teenagers in the Soviet realm meant shooting at images of the American president.
The armed forces and secret police organizations of the USSR and of the Third Reich were engaged in the rape, murder, pillage, colonization and enslavement of the territories and peoples they invaded, including each other's. The difference between them was only the length of time of their respective existence: 12 years for the Third Reich; for the USSR, 74. The number of millions imprisoned, tortured and killed reflects the length of time available to each.
The Third Reich was destroyed, its chief villains tried and punished. Some of them are still hunted. The parts of Germany controlled by the allied forces of the civilized world were given a workable constitution and decades of close supervision to see if it will do the job. The Federal Republic of Germany, as it was called, volunteered to take responsibility for crimes committed by the Third Reich anywhere, not merely on its own territory. Reparations are still being paid to many parties all over the world. Except for monetary matters, Germans have observed appropriate restraint in discussing world affairs.
And what of the USSR?
One day in 1991, its leader - proud and revered because his tanks rolled over fewer than 100 unarmed civilians at a time - appeared on television to say that it no longer existed. There were no trials, no punishment, no acknowledgment of responsibility, no reparations. We see no newsreels of the Soviet death camps, and Hollywood never was keen to tell and retell stories about that particular abomination of humanity.
60 years after, we are still reminded, almost daily, of the Nuremberg rallies, the SS goose-stepping, the Wehrmacht marching into Paris, General George S. Patton opening a gas oven with human remains still in it. But American radio and television celebrate the Red Army on every anniversary, almost to the point of eclipsing the sacrifice of our own.
Yet the Red Army's rape of Poland began on September 17, 1939, only 16 days later than the German invasion that signaled the onset of World War II. The Soviets then set upon Finland, annexed the three Baltic Republics, and took large sections of Rumania. All this had been agreed in a brotherly embrace by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, joint valedictorians of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's "How to Rule the World" Academy. It was only in response to the German invasion of its homeland that the Red Army engaged in the one and only honorable period of its history, and then in the face of extreme provocation. Unlike the forces of the United States, it pursued the enemy on foreign soil not to liberate but to enslave permanently the peoples in its power. And after World War II, its exploits resumed to unfold against unarmed civilians, children preferred.
If Russia is legal successor to the USSR, when will it be tried for crimes against humanity? When will it begin to pay reparations?
If it is not, in what capacity do Russians tell America whether it may be permitted to provide for its own defense?
What is the reasoning, what is the motivation of America's current leaders to build a super-radar for the Russians as a bribe?
To this day, the Soviets, or Russians, or whatever they want to be called just now, have failed to offer the slightest acknowledgment, much less a "thank-you," for Anglo-American support of their war effort against Germany. Some numbers: 22,205 aircraft; 12,274 tanks; 375,883 trucks; 51,503 Jeeps; 35,170 motorcycles; 8,075 tractors; 189,000 field telephones with 670,000 miles of wiring; 1,966 locomotives; 11,075 specialty railway cars; 4,478,116 tons of food; 2,670,371 tons of oil and gasoline; finally, huge quantities of boots, aluminum, copper, and explosives were delivered between 1941 and 1945.
The untold, and unaccounted-for, billions upon billions of dollars of our money shipped to Russia since 1991 have been the subject of many recent articles. Apparently, whatever positive aspirations, impulses, or forces there may be in Russia, they are just as unable to acquire traction under the current regime as they have been during all the centuries before.
If you love Pushkin, Tchaikovsky, or Galina Ulanova as much as I do, your heart may bleed as you survey the sorry spectacle of a vast country overflowing with natural resources simply incapable of putting its act together.
But have we gone stark raving mad to make them arbiter of our own survival?