One US Senator is doing something both useful and smart, which today can be a rare confluence. Senator Dan Coats (R-Indiana) wants us to stop buying Russian arms. That’s a pretty good idea.
We are buying Russian choppers for Afghanistan, led by Hamid Karzai, who in March threatened our troops who put him in power, and can’t get rid of us fast enough. We pay Russia’s state-owned Rosoboronexport arms-export agency $1.1 billion for the helicopters. Rosoboronexport handles 80% of Russia’s arms export, and reports to Putin (who likely doles out the cash as he pleases).
One of Rosoboronexport’s best customers is Syrian despot and war criminal Bashar al-Assad, who buys Yakolev Yak-130 jets, which are perfect for bombing civilian targets, and troublingly, S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missiles. The S-300s are troubling because they are a game-changer in the middle-east, capable of engaging multiple F-15 or F-16 jets with a good degree of success. The missiles also may find their way into the hands of Hizballah, something Israel fears and does not tolerate.
In case you don’t know, Hizballah is on the State Department’s Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization list; they were added in 1997, unlike Boko Haram, who was added last November.
Senator Coats has introduced a bipartisan bill called the Russian Weapons Embargo Act of 2014.
Given Russia’s hostile actions in western Ukraine, we must send the message that there will be no more business as usual. With American credibility and the future of the international order on the line, our actions should reflect that.
We should support Senator Coats and his co-sponsors in getting this bill quickly to the Senate floor, and getting House legislation started (hint: call or email your Senator’s office). This is something that should not be ignored. The Russians pull no punches in playing tit-for-tat chess with our interests, and we shouldn’t either.
The latest Russian stunt is this.
Russia is threatening to ban the US from using the International Space Station. Furthermore, and perhaps more significantly in the short term, Russia will ban the US from buying the Russian RD-180 rocket engines that are currently used by the ULA’s Atlas V launcher to put the US military’s satellites into space.
I guess we need to call upon Tony Stark Elon Musk and SpaceX to save us from being permanently Earth-bound. I knew it was a bad idea to trust the Russians with our space program anyway.
Let’s send a real message to Russia, and stop pussy-footing around, and at the same time, stop sending cash and prizes to terrorists and our enemies.