Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Another deeply negative piece by David Satter on the internal situation in Russia. If Satter is even half right, the West will have a big problem on its hands down the road, because Russia is an indispensable ally in our current war: because of its oil and gas, because of its proximity to the key battlefields of Central Asia, and because of its ability to make trouble in Iraq, Iran, Syria and elsewhere. We need Russia on our side like we need no other power, with the possible exceptions of Britain and Turkey.

We probably can't afford not to make friends with Russia, but how close we draw them to us, and how much trust we extend them, must be a function of our assessment of the character of their leadership and, specifically, Putin himself. And the key question for his character is: is he a patriot? Or is he only a gangster and the instrument of gangsters? He ascent to the Presidency is likely marred by crime, certainly by association with criminals. Were they using him or was he using them? I say that is the key because we can never trust him - at all - if we determine he is nothing but a tool of the gangsters, because then he is weak and has no legitimate authority of his own; if that is how Russia is ruled, it may be bought (temporarily) but never relied upon. But if he is a true patriot, then he may be trusted in so far as our interests are aligned with Russias as, to a great degree, they now are. All this is cold comfort to the Chechens; I fear they will find no refuge from any quarter.