Just talking about some columnist being an “empty talking head” does nothing to diminish the danger in what is going on now in Ossetia. Like World War I, what is happening in the Caucusus could cause an erratic, unstoppable forward lurch into a wider and wider conventional conflict. Terroristm. Religious hatred…and oil…yes, but also Beslan and School No.1.
The sheer horror of what happened in Beslan is beyond what happened in seconds in Oklahoma City or in a couple of hours in New York – the suffering was almost beyond imagination. And the impact on Russia, and the degree to which Beslan factors into the implosion of the budding new democracy in Russia cannot, must not be ignored.
The note Putin struck most distinctly at the meeting with reporters and scholars was one of paranoia, fear that outside forces-the enemies he knew as a K.G.B. officer-were somehow undermining him. Those who mean to “tear off a big chunk of our country,” he said, are being backed by those who “think that Russia, as one of the greatest nuclear powers of the world, is still a threat, and this threat has to be eliminated.”
And so the Russian people, who live in dread of further violence, find themselves at the mercy of well-trained terrorists in the south and a paranoid President in the Kremlin who refuses the burdens of democratic accountability and the need to reshape a policy that is good for little but more bloodshed.
After all, to even begin to understand how the USA found itself in Iraq, the impact of 9/11 on the American psyche HAS to be considered.