A falling out between partners in crime

Does Monday's carnage in Russia mean Islamist bombers are indiscriminate and irrational, and pose no special threat to free nations? You might as well ask whom Hitler hated more: Churchill or Stalin?

Should the dozens slaughtered and well over 100 injured by a suicide bomber at Moscow Domodedovo Airport on Monday identify with the American victims of 9/11? Some might say that the many tributes we've heard in the years since al-Qaida attacked the U.S. homeland preclude such a comparison.

On that very day, President George W. Bush began his address to the nation with the assertion that "our way of life — our very freedom — came under attack." He said, "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world."

Certainly no one can say that about the Russia of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB operative who has done everything in his power to maintain an undemocratic grasp on power and darken his countrymen's opportunities for freedom — including his likely being behind the murder in London four years ago of dissident Russian journalist Alexander Litvinenko, courtesy of a radioactive isotope slipped into his tea.

While history may well record the Litvinenko killing as the first-ever act of nuclear terrorism, Putin's Russia has for years helped Islamofascist Iran achieve nuclear capability, the route to the kind of terrorism that leaves far more than a troublesome writer dead.

Moscow was instrumental in building Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant along the Persian Gulf coast, completed in 2009, and provided nuclear fuel for the facility.

It's no stretch to view the Moscow-Tehran alliance as a 21st-century version of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. There may have been immense differences between Nazism and communism, but both powers were united as enemies of U.S./British-style representative government, economic freedom, and the religious and philosophical values of Western civilization.

"By signing the pact with Germany, the Soviet Union opened the door to war" against Britain and France and "Germany was protected against a major conflict on its eastern front," Russian historians Mikhail Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich write in their Soviet history, "Utopia in Power." The August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop "non-aggression" treaty was followed a week later by Germany invading Poland.

The leaders of al-Qaida and the mullahs of Iran are similarly united with the reconstructed communist thug Putin as enemies of the West. And just as the Hitler-Stalin Pact did not stop those two bloodthirsty tyrants from ultimately going at each other, a selective Russian-Islamist alliance does not preclude jihadist suicide bombings against Russia — or Moscow's certain reprisals against Islamists.

Consider Russia's stubborn dominance of Chechnya, whose population of more than 1 million is Sunni Muslim. Stalin's 1944 deportation of ethnic Chechens, many to Siberia — officially declared "an act of genocide" by the European Parliament in 2004 — is but one of countless crimes committed against them by Moscow.

A nearly constant state of war has persisted there, and in that Islamists see opportunity. For a new Muslim nation to finally emerge from the ashes of the Soviet Union would be a resounding propaganda victory for jihadists.

It would give the impression that more of the world is coming under Islamic rule — an obvious counterpunch to Iraq going from seemingly permanent Baathist rule under Saddam Hussein to becoming a pro-Western state with freely elected leaders.

It was no neoconservative but President Bill Clinton who, in his 1994 State of the Union address to Congress, said: "Ultimately, the best strategy to ensure our security and to build a durable peace is to support the advance of democracy elsewhere; democracies don't attack each other."

Governments and groups who are opposed to political and economic freedoms, on the other hand, do attack each other — even when they work toward common ends in other areas.


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