The Guardian February 14, 2001


Back to the Cold War

The Director of the CIA, George Tenet, does not have illusions about his 
supposed enemies. In a report to the US Senate intelligence committee last 
week, Tenet let fly about his concerns.

"There can be little doubt that President Putin wants to restore some 
aspects of the Soviet past  [its] status as a great power, strong central 
authority and a stable and predictable society  sometimes at the expense 
of neighbouring states or the civil rights of individual Russians", Tenet 
said.

He claimed that Russia "continues to value arms and technology sales as a 
major source of funds".

Tenet accused Russia  along with China and North Korea  of being guilty 
of proliferating missile technology.

"I cannot underestimate the catalytic role that foreign assistance has 
played in advancing these missiles and weapons of mass destruction 
programs, shortening their development times and aiding production", said 
Tenet.

Tenet perhaps unwittingly revealed clearly the objectives of the US in its 
relationship with the Russian Federation  to reduce Russia to a weak, 
third world country with no right to pursue relations with other countries 
that are not acceptable to the US leadership.

As the world's greatest exporter of arms including hi-tech weapons, the US 
is not in any position to lecture others on their export of weapons. Russia 
exported only $4 billion in arms last year as against an annual export of 
about $20 billion in arms during the Soviet period.

Most revealing is the concern of the CIA chief at the efforts of Russian 
President Vladimir Putin to build a closer alliance with China and India. A 
bloc of these three countries would give the US leaders and other 
imperialist leaders of West European countries nightmares.

The total population of these three countries, their collective political 
influence, their industrial potential and the rich resources that they 
collectively control, could provide a mighty barrier to the American 
aspiration to rule the world.

Tenet accused Putin of clamping down on human rights and trying to restore 
Moscow's Soviet-era sphere of influence.

The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation tersely rejected the claims 
of Tenet saying that Russia in the past year had ratified a raft of nuclear 
agreements, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty  which the US 
Congress has refused to accept.

"If anyone, it is the CIA chief who should know" that Russia has ratified 
these agreements, the Foreign Ministry said.

"The `dark revelations' of George Tenet about Russia and our relations with 
the US could help the hawks in the US Congress and help boost the CIA 
budget, but they in no way correspond to the true state of affairs", said 
the Russian Foreign Ministry statement.

Tenet's statements may also be aimed to justify more money for the US 
military and US plans to push on with their National Missile Defence plans, 
even though this involves tearing up the treaty between the US and the 
Soviet Union which limited the production and spread of nuclear weapons.

"When you consider that the CIA's (status) soared in the Cold War era, it 
would be difficult to expect a balanced assessment of Russia-US relations 
from its leadership," said the Russian government statement.

Putin was one of the last world leaders to send Bush his congratulations on 
his inauguration.

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