There is an old saying “The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”. That kind of logic lead us to become allies with the old Soviet Union, USSR, or as they really are, the Russians. Yes, we were allies with the Russians, even while we were sentencing the Rosenberg to death for giving Nuclear secrets to out allies? In the 80s, a period when I was stationed at Hahn AB in Germany, we may have been facing off with the Russians from across the Iron Curtain, but when it cam to shopping in the Main BX in Berlin? Yes.. The Evil Empire was allowed to shop at the big commissary in Berlin. Why? Because they were our allies..
People thought it was strange that we could be about to go to war with the Russians, and yet we would let them onto our bases so they could shop?
So, what does this have to do with our old saying? “The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”? Because in 1941 the German government turned on their one time ally, the Germans had been allies of the Russian long enough to divide up a good hunk of eastern Europe, and so when we got into the war a few months later it was “The Enemy of my Enemy” is that out enemy was Germany, and the Russians, since their betrayal by the Germans, were therefor our friends..
Over the ensuing years we would often come to near war with the big bear many times in an effort to prevent the Evil Empire from spreading across the world like a giant fungus. We would be involved in proxy wars, think Korea and Vietmam, in an effort to keep the Bear contained.
For the most part we were successful, though we did lose Vietnam, and sometime there were unintended consequences. A good example of that was when Iran revolted against the Shah and the country was taken over by the west hating clerics, who started calling the United States the Great Satan. It wasn’t that we had any great dislike for the Iranian people we had just seen the Big Bear as the greater threat, and so we had, in an effort to counter their influence in the middle east, supported another dictator.. It might have been many years ago to us but they remember it. That and our support of Saddam Hussein in later years.
These proxy wars also had other effects. For a prime example I give you Israel. Yes we have supported Israel since about 1948 when an American officer, Col. Micky Marcus, was recruited to become Israel’s first modern General(aluf). Though he died in the conflict he was able to help Israel survive it’s first war with the neighboring countries who did not want a Jewish state so near their borders. The interesting, at least to me, effect was that over the years, and several wars, Israel used mostly American weapons system against weapon system supplied by the USSR to those same neighboring countries. We were also able to get our hands on a number of these weapon system that were captured by the Israeli Defense Forces, which allowed the United State to further analyse how they worked..
When it comes to the Middle East the thought comes to mind that while the United States and NATO have been looking at the “Big Picture” people like the new rulers, new in 1979, of Iran were only thinking about their small picture.. and like Castro, who spent many years in power telling his people that the United States was on the verge of taking over Cuba and how it was through his strength that the United States was continually defeated, or how Kim Sung did the same for North Korea… The rulers in Iran have been telling the world how the United States was getting ready to invade their county.
At one point, when the United States had crushed the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq, we had Iran surrounded. That would have been the time to crush the largest supporter of terrorism of the time.. Iran. The country that supplied money and weapon to Syria, which then got into the hands of the Hammas and other terrorist groups. One thing that we must remember is that this groups, the people in the Gaza area who keep telling us they are the victims of Israel, came from the PLO under Yasser Arafat. A group that blew up civilian aircraft, hijacked them, hijacked ship, and killed hostages.
Once we even supported Iraq, during their 7, or 8, year war with Iran. The Iranians probably remember how we had many of the tanker that transit the Persian Gulf flagged with U.S. flags, and we sank a number of the Iranian ships that attacked these reflaged ships.. This was not because we thought Saddam was such a great guy, after all we had 2 wars with him since then and threw him out of power on the last one, it was so that the Iranians could not put a damper on the flow of oil by sinking the Iraqi flagged ships.
The point I was working my way to, by the scenic route, was that now, with the Paris attacks, the Russians have decided to use the attacks as an excuse for having a legitimate reason to send troops.
Since the civil war started in Syria there were attacks using poison gas. Obama threatened Assad and said that if he did not stop the attacks on the rebels, that he would bomb them. The Hesitant President took his time making a decision, and by the time he did it was discovered that it was the rebels who had been using gas, not the government.. Then ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever name they are called, got into the mix. In an effort to stop ISIS the United States, Obama, decided to help the groups that were also fighting the Syrian government…
Then Syria started to get rather crowded with the influx of Iranians, Russians and Cubans.. We have people in with the rebels, so it is possible, since the Russians were trying to keep Assad in power, the our troops could come under fire from the Russians. As an aside, it is interesting to not that just a few days after President Obama moved to normalize relations with Cuba they would send troops to Syria in support of the Russians.
It is no secret that the Russian would want a Mediterranean port so they could project their sea-power into the Med. Well, supporting Assad is one way of doing that. If they go after ISIS that will give them an excuse, as an Ally, to go into Iraq, which brings me to my point. Looking back at World War II the Russian army took up half of Germany. The result was a divided Germany that lasted almost 50 years until the collapse of the USSR. Once the Russians get control of a country they do not like to give it up…. Just look at their efforts to seize control of, in recent years, Georgia and the Ukraine.
So my question is : If the Russians are the enemy of our enemy(ISIS) does that really make them good guys, and how can we be sure of getting them out of there once it is over? It doesn’t. They are still up to their old tricks. Take the Russian bomber that was shot down by the Turks. The Turkish government says that the plane kept over flying Turkish territory, the Russian say it did not. I tend to side with the Turks. In the 70s, when I was in the U.S. Air Force I talked to a number of pilots who had flown alert duty, during the cold war, on the eastern coast of the U.S. who told how they would have to usher Russian recon aircraft out from U.S. territory. Sometimes while they were still flying OVER dry land. We could have shot them down for being there as the type of aircraft they used, called the Bear by NATO, was a converted strategic bomber.
So, while it might be nice to think that the Russian are just helping get rid of this terrorist threat can we really be sure that they aren’t just using this as an excuse to do a little land grabbing?
That Joe Guy.