Russia's heavy handed invasion of Georgia under former KGB officer Vladimir Putin has raised the specter of a revived Soviet Union bent on expanding its borders by any means necessary.
Nobody now doubts Putin's intentions to restore the grasp of the once vanquished Soviet Union, just as nobody doubts that Putin is the motivating force behind his nation's growing belligerence.
Few, however, realize that we owe Putin's original ascendancy to none other than Al Gore. Had it not been for him, and the Clinton administration's delegation of power to Gore in dealing with the newly free Russia, that nation probably would today be a thriving free enterprise-oriented democracy instead of an emerging threat to world peace and the sovereignty of its neighbors.
According to the authoritative report of the Speaker's Advisory Group's 106th Congress "How the Clinton Administration Exported Government Instead of Free Enterprise and Failed the Russian People" in April 1993, "during his first meeting with President Yeltsin, President Clinton effectively delegated the management of U.S.-Russian relations to Vice President Gore."
That authority the report notes, was eventually expanded to include the full range of U.S.-Russia relations under the purview of the U.S.-Russia Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation, co-chaired by Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and known simply as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission.
Clinton's abdication to Gore of authority over the most important foreign policy opportunity for America since World War II — the rebuilding of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union — had fateful consequences, including the emergence of a former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, as a key player in Russia's government.
Gore and Chernomyrdin became fast friends despite the fact that Chernomyrdin was known to be utterly corrupt, a demonstrable fact that Gore studiously ignored. They formed the now infamous Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, which the report says "by superseding normal policy making and well established intra- and inter-governmental channels of communication, would come to impede the information flow to decision-makers in Washington. The Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission likewise distracted Russian government officials from what should have been their main focus: constructing the essential elements of a free enterprise economy."
Gore stubbornly persisted in defending Chernomyrdin despite clear warnings that he was playing with fire.
The report reveals that in 1995, CIA officials sent a secret report based upon the agency's large dossier documenting the corrupt practices of then-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to the White House.
"Chernomyrdin's private assets accumulated in his official position, according to Russian security sources, ran into the billions of dollars. When the secret report on Chernomyrdin reached Vice President Gore, he refused to accept it. Instead, according to several CIA sources, he sent it back to the agency with the word "bull***t" scrawled across it."
The Congressional report commented that "It is difficult to imagine a more dangerously intemperate reaction to official corruption in Russia. Yet this was hardly an isolated incident. The administration had ignored repeated earlier warnings of corruption by Chernomyrdin and other senior Russian officials. Several Clinton administration senior officials have stated publicly that, by 1995, they had received a number of reports from the CIA alleging corruption by Chernomyrdin, and that the CIA had submitted many other reports alleging corruption among other senior Russian leaders, including Clinton administration favorite Anatoly Chubais.
"Gore's close personal relationship to Viktor Chernomyrdin, and not any superior intelligence that he possessed as vice president, was obviously decisive in his emotional dismissal of the CIA intelligence report of Chernomyrdin's corruption. (While Gore has publicly denied the 'bull***t' incident, he has also re-stated his harsh criticism of CIA reporting on Chernomyrdin's corruption.) This reflexive dismissal of corruption allegations against Viktor Chernomyrdin was all the more remarkable given contemporaneous Russian and U.S. Media reports about Chernomyrdin's alleged corruption and continuing links to the Russian gas conglomerate Gazprom after his entry into government.
"Gore has hedged his denial of the "bull***t" incident, saying "I don't think" that I "ever wrote a message of that kind." Moreover, while denying writing the word "bull***t," Gore plainly referred to a specific CIA report, saying "whoever sent that over there [could not have] expected the White House to be impressed with it . . . It was a very sloppy piece of work.
"At precisely the same time that Gore was receiving reports of Chernomyrdin's corruption, the vice president was effusive in his public comments about Chernomyrdin, stating in June 1995 in Moscow: 'Friends have a right to be proud of friends.'
"The Clinton administration's decision to base U.S.-Russian relations on Vice President Gore's relationship with Viktor Chernomyrdin and a handful of other high officials sent a strong public signal that the United States would not only tolerate but embrace figures clearly identified in the Russian media and public consciousness with corruption — further undercutting law enforcement, and demoralizing not only the out-manned and underpaid Russian foes of organized crime, but also the Russian people.
"Russia's rampant capital flight, estimated at as much as $500 billion since Russian independence, is another serious consequence of corruption and organized crime. Even the most conservative estimates of capital flight demonstrate that the amount of money leaving Russia has far outstripped the money coming in from all sources including foreign direct investment in Russia, Russia's soaring foreign debt, and direct Western aid to Russia.
"In this way, the Clinton administration, and Gore personally, contributed not only to the spread of corruption, but to Russia's failure to overcome it. Since Chernomyrdin served as prime minister for five years, it is clear that this embrace of corruption fundamentally compromised Russia's efforts at economic reform."
The end results of Gore's studied negligence were two-fold: 1. ridden with the corruption, Gore and the administration tacitly accepted, Russia's economy collapsed and the nation fell into a state of turmoil and 2. Russians went looking for someone authoritative who could bring order out of chaos. They got Vladimir Putin.
As the report notes, "The successful elevation of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency is widely attributed to the public longing for order after a decade of chaos."
Chaos to which Albert Gore greatly contributed and the chaos that created Vladimir Putin.
And this is the Al Gore who having helped create the Putin oligarchy, now wants to wreck the world's economy with his fraudulent global warming alarmism.
Note: This column is based on the extraordinary and widely ignored by the media report "Russia's Road to Corruption" Speaker's Advisory Group on Russia United States House of Representatives 106th Congress "How the Clinton Administration Exported Government Instead of Free Enterprise and Failed the Russian People." It's long, thoroughly documented and must reading for anyone who wants to know how Russia got to be what it is today. Go here for the complete text: http://www.pvbr.com/Issue_1/fullrussia.htm.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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