Saturday, September 30, 2017

Serving as an Example....

"[The 39,967 metric ton cache of chemical weapons, that Moscow inherited from the Soviet Union, had the capacity to] destroy all life on earth multiple times."
"I believe Russia’s efforts in liquidating its chemical weapons will serve as an example for other countries."
"The United States unfortunately hasn’t met its required deadlines in liquidating their chemical weapons, using a ‘lack of finances’ as an excuse." 
Russian President Vladimir Putin 
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke while giving a command to destroy the last chemical weapon stored in Russia via a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke while giving a command to destroy the last chemical weapon stored in Russia via a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Wednesday.  Alexei Nikolsky/Pool Photo via Associated Press
"[This move by Russia represents a] major milestone [in the destruction of its chemical arsenal]."
"I congratulate Russia and I commend all of their experts who were involved for their professionalism and dedication."
Ahmet Uzu, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
There's not that much good news out of Russia these days. From its interference in Georgia, to its active participation with ethnic Russian Ukrainian rebels in engaging in conflict with a Ukraine that sees its future best served with a Western rather than a Russian alliance, and its decisive highjacking of the Crimean Peninsula, then its incursion in Syria in support of mass-murdering Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's and Mr. Putin's reputation in the West has sunk to a new low.

But then, this doesn't disturb either Moscow nor Vladimir Putin one bit. The Russian President had succeeded in leading the previous American President around by his diplomatic nose, had impressed even his predecessor as understood when President Bush declared he could see his friend Vladimir's soul in his eyes as a man to be trusted, and now had the eye and the ear of a fresh American President, yet it has dissolved into a sinkhole of suspicion.

Little wonder, given the security concerns expressed by eastern Europe over Russia's new assertiveness, its acquisition of new technically advanced arms and its pride in parading them in public view. The perceived threat felt by Poland and the Balkan nations has NATO's back and the alliance is prepared to counter any Russian advance to increase its hegemony reminiscent of the Soviet era, with no love lost between them.

One might well ask, with its massive new inventory of space-age armaments, its huge nuclear investment and much-vaunted ICBM cache along with anti-missile capabilities, why would antiquated chemical weapons even be in existence? They would hardly represent a sacrifice in their destruction. And certainly would go far in persuading a doubting world that Russia has all its ducks in a row.

So the last remaining artillery projectiles equipped with VX toxic agent has been destroyed, and with it the gruesome image of its use and the resulting human carnage that would devolve from such use is now where it belongs, in the trash heap of distant dread and memory. Now, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, over 96 percent of the weapons recognized by the 192 participants of the convention have been destroyed.

Mind, when the OPCW which managed the collection and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons declared them destroyed, al-Assad still managed to find some that he had deliberately withheld, to use them against his 'terrorist' Sunni Syrian population. And as we can all recall, it was Vladimir Putin's assurance to Barack Obama that there was no need to militarily intervene in Syria to stop the carnage when the first incident of a chemical attack was made known.

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