Russia resurrects Cold War threats

  1. Putin resurrects Cold War threats
    Presides over practice of Russian nuclear attack on U.S.

    Posted: March 23, 2004
    By J. Michael Waller
    © 2004

    It was the ultimate campaign stunt: The president, clad in a navy uniform and white gloves, at sea on a sunny morning, standing on the deck of a giant titanium-hulled ballistic-missile submarine. He looked on smartly as the military began a weeklong exercise to unleash its triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles and strategic bombers in the biggest nuclear doomsday drill since the coldest days of the Cold War.
    The president's administration officially billed it as an "antiterrorism" exercise. But as land-based missiles arched their way a third of the way around the planet to the warhead target range in the Pacific, and as the bombers followed their dreaded Arctic route to fire cruise missiles over the top of the earth, the reality of the massive exercise was clear: The threat of Cold War nuclear extermination is as real as ever.

    An American president well could have been run out of office for personally commanding and celebrating such political theater. The commander in chief in this case, however, was Russian President Vladimir Putin. The date was Feb. 17, less than a month before the March 14 elections that everyone expected him to win. Bezopastnost-2004, as the strategic command and staff exercise was called, was a mock nuclear attack on the United States, the largest since Communist Party boss Leonid Brezhnev ruled from the Kremlin in 1982.

    Weeks later, Putin further consolidated his already strong control of the country. According to Jacques Amalric of the leftist French daily Liberation, Putin has placed former KGB officers in nearly 60 percent of all presidential administration posts. In early March he fired his prime minister and named to replace him a relatively anonymous technocrat with no political base but with a murky KGB background. Mikhail Fradkov has an incomplete official résumé that Russian critics say indicates an early KGB career. At the time of his appointment, he was head of the tax police, Russia's equivalent of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The Russian tax police, however, has a notorious past. Under Soviet rule, it was the dissident-hunting KGB Fifth Chief Directorate.

    The White House expressed no concern with either development. Few American media commentators seemed to notice. The Kremlin had wanted the world to see Putin atop the conning tower of the Arkhangelsk nuclear submarine. Pravda loved the carefully orchestrated action, almost lovingly reporting on how Putin personally inspected the nuclear-reactor control room and exhorted sailors in the mess to eat pancakes in observance of Shrove Tuesday.

    Full Story :
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   nekhismom
    Ok, and no one has said anything about this mock-nuclear attack on the US because....????

    Surely, GWB, with all of his ANTI-TERRORISM talk, would have strongly objected to this??? Or is Russia on our list of "friends" now??

    Well, it just goes to show, terrorism comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, from everywhere, doesn't it
  4. by   WyomingRN
    I am shocked that neither elected officials (State and Federal - democrat and republican) nor Americans in general are not outraged with this; especially considering all talk about North Korea.
  5. by   warrior woman
    Just goes to show that people will see what they want to see.
  6. by   fergus51
    I think people might care if they thought there was any real chance Russia would launch nukes at us. As it is, it was clearly an election stunt, not a threat to us.