The Early Days of a Better Nation

Thursday, September 09, 2004

From those wonderful people who gave you Afghanistan

John Laughland is a conservative and controversial journalist, so I looked on this story with some scepticism:
[I]n the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror".

They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.

The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo - implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there. In August, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow describes as a terrorist. Coming from both political parties, the ACPC members represent the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views are indeed those of the US administration.
If anything, Laughland understates the case. The ACPC's membership list is indeed a roll-call, and not just of neocons. And to chair an organization devoted to the peaceful resolution of a conflict between Russia and Chechnya, who better to pick than Zbigniew Brzezinski and Alexander Haig?

Brzezinski, in particular, must really inspire trust in the Kremlin.

Brendan O'Neill reminds us of, inter alia, Afghan-Chechen links which, in a quite remarkable article on the ACPC site, we are assured do not exist, except in minor and inconsequential ways such as military training and $200 000 dollars.


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