To the bewilderment of Moscow-watchers everywhere, some Americans have raised the prospect of an anti-terror alliance with Russia.
How can we have a counter-terror alliance with terrorists?
Vladimir Putin’s government may not be Islamist, but it has committed acts of terror the scope of which equals the misdeeds of ISIS, purposely bombing hospitals, clinics, schools and refugee columns in Syria, as well as committing atrocities within its borders in the Caucasus and in neighboring states such as Georgia and Ukraine. Russian savagery has created far more new terrorists than it’s killed old ones. And Putin’s security services murder dissidents and journalists at home and abroad, which is old-fashioned, by-the-KGB-book terrorism.
Even setting aside Putin’s proven efforts to subvert the crucial tool of our self-government, free elections, do we really want our men and women in uniform to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with Russian war criminals?
Anyone who still says, “Yes,” must answer a basic question: “What, specifically, would the Russians bring to the anti-terror fight that would outweigh the negatives?”
A glib answer, such as “Bombs,” doesn’t cut it. Which technical or military capabilities could Russia offer that we don’t possess in abundance?
The answer to that one is “None.” Putin has a small core of marginally competent combat forces, but they’re already overstretched in Ukraine and Syria (both of which turned out to be a lot harder than Russia’s new czar anticipated). The rest of the Russian military is a scrap-heap manned by ill-trained conscripts. As for “bombs,” the Russians quickly found themselves rationing their meager stocks of expensive “smart bombs” in Syria, dropping old-fashioned dumb bombs on civilians instead.
On top of that, Russian weapons don’t work very well. And their security services, focused on disrupting Western governments, don’t have good intelligence on global terrorism. They’d like to have us share our sources with them, though.
An anti-terror alliance with Russia would bring us only shame. But it would be great news for Putin, who craves recognition as a world-class leader. On a practical level, we’d be loaning him our military to do what his own forces can’t. How is that a good deal for our troops or taxpayers?
Meanwhile, Russian special operators help the Taliban and other terror groups find better ways to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Should we reward Moscow for that?
Even beyond these recommendations to embrace the bear, we now have American apologists for Iran, claiming that Moscow’s allies in Tehran aren’t really so bad, after all. They remind us that Iran hasn’t struck our homeland as Saudi-funded al Qaeda or ISIS do.
That much is true. Iran hasn’t sent terrorists to our shores. But Iranian-supplied IEDs and other weapons, as well as Tehran’s Shia militia surrogates and Revolutionary Guards masterminds, killed or permanently disabled thousands of American troops in Iraq. Anyone who claims that we should cooperate with the Iranians insults our dead and mocks our wounded veterans.
(Washington’s a town where everyone claims to honor our vets, but where parents wouldn’t dream of letting their children serve. Disabled veterans can’t afford to live anywhere near the Beltway, where contractors, lawyers, lobbyists and media stars would be embarrassed to live in a home that cost a mere million bucks. For our vets, out of sight is out of mind -- except when it comes time to pose with a flag and a legless veteran for a campaign photo op.)
Then there are the political hacks and media hangers-on who built careers on noisy patriotism, condemning Putin and damning Iran throughout the Obama years, only to turn on a dime and portray them as potential pals today.
If you lie down with dogs, you don’t just get up with fleas. Sometimes, you get up with rabies. This magnificent country of ours, which remains the ideal and hope of billions of the oppressed around the world, needs to strengthen our alliances with free nations that share our values, from NATO’s farthest borders to Australia. The best way to defeat terrorists isn’t to link arms with mass-murderers who hate us, but to renew our commitment to our traditional allies, to those states that share our commitment to liberty, the rule of law and the rights of the individual.
Terrorist states, such as the Russian Federation or the Islamic Republic of Iran, need not apply.