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Which Presidential Candidate Is Better for Russia?

Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM

But the government-controlled media do not make any bones about Moscow’s sympathy with Al Gore, underscoring the vice president’s experience in domestic and foreign policy and his personal contacts with many present and former Russian politicians.

As the state-run press insists, if Mr. Gore is elected as the next U.S. president, it would mean a continuation of American policy favoring Russia and a new flow of credits and loans to Moscow from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions.

And of course, in addition to money from these institutions, tens of billions of dollars from direct American investments in the Russian economy – that well-known international "money-pit," where these funds will, as usual, promptly disappear .

According to the government-controlled media, if Mr. Gore is elected as the next American president, the Russian government will have a chance to continue its bloody war in Chechnya, build up the Russian military machine, and further develop the military-industrial complex that is now producing such up-to-date weapons systems that even the U.S. military simply cannot afford to have them.

In foreign policy, the state-run media insist that Gore will continue the practice of secret diplomacy (such as his secret sweetheart deal with former Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin on Moscow’s arms sales to Iran), as well as meeting the so-called U.S. obligation over arms control issues.

For example, Gore favors the limited National Missile Defense system that President Clinton has advocated, and he would put more emphasis on the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty as the linchpin of the U.S.-Russian arms control program.

In other words, Russian leaders believe that if Gore is elected the U.S. administration will continue its support of the totally corrupt totalitarian Moscow regime, which will be given another opportunity to challenge a much weaker and vulnerable America.

And none of Moscow’s leaders worries about how many new generations of ordinary Russians (who did not receive one penny from Western credits and loans) it will take to pay back their politicians' borrowing to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, which made Russia’s corrupt elite unbelievably wealthy.

But what is good for Moscow’s leaders is not at all good for the Russian people.

There is no doubt that George Bush would be better for the Russian people and Russia, which is in a permanent economic social, political and military crisis. Only a completely new administration in Washington would have a chance to correct the major mistakes in American policy toward Russia and finally bring Moscow into the international community of nations as an equal partner.

We know that the Clinton-Gore administration during the last eight years actually lost a unique historical chance to make Russia an American friend, partner and potential ally. Many experts, including Russians, believe that this lapse in American policy is equal to, and may be much more devastating to America than, the U.S. defeat in the Vietnam War.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and in the early 1990s, the Russians saw America as their example for democratic reforms and for creation of a market-oriented economy. The Russians looked at the U.S. as if they were looking at an older brother who could help them in a time of really difficult transaction from their totalitarian past to a bright and prosperous future.

But during the last eight years, ordinary Russians found no real evidence of America’s good will toward them. American taxpayers' money, supposedly originated by the IMF and World Bank to assist Russia’s economic reforms, disappeared into the private accounts of Moscow's corrupt elite while the Clinton-Gore administration closed its eyes.

When Moscow began its return to a totalitarian government, the Clinton-Gore administration ignored violations of human rights and democratic freedoms in Russia in the favor of a mythical "partnership" with Moscow.

Washington also closed its eyes to Russia’s massive military buildup at the expense of the declining Russian population, and practically ignored the bloody war in Chechnya, which every week continues to take more lives than the entire crew that perished in the tragic sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk

A list of the Clinton-Gore administration mistakes and strange policies, which are very difficult to understand and accept, could take several pages, but one more point. The Clinton-Gore administration paid no attention to international observers’ reports about fraud in the March presidential election in Russia.

That fraud made it possible for Vladimir Putin, with his KGB past, his anti-American sentiments and his dictatorial ambitions, to become the new Russian president.

The pro-America Russia that Clinton-Gore inherited from the previous administration eight years ago could have become America’s strategic partner. But Clinton and Gore, along with their aides and assistants, made so many mistakes the new president will have a giant job to correct American policy.

As a result of these mistakes the previously pro-American public opinion in Russia has changed dramatically, and it won’t be easy for the new U.S. administration to restore America’s positive image in the eyes of ordinary Russians, who look at the U.S. with hope in their hearts.

Of course, only a new White House team can tackle this tough job, because it’s very difficult to expect real changes in a continuation of the old Clinton-Gore administration’s policies. Who will revisit a dentist who removed the wrong tooth?

The next team in the White House desperately needs new people and new ideas with new strategic and geopolitical views. Only a new administration with a new policy could establish really new and mutually beneficial relationships between the U.S. and Russia.

If not, in the near future the U.S. could be challenged by a much more powerful, well-armed and decidedly unfriendly Moscow.

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But the government-controlled media do not make any bones about Moscow's sympathy with Al Gore, underscoring the vice president's experience in domestic and foreign policy and his personal contacts with many present and former Russian politicians. As the state-run press...
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Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM
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