The American Interest

After Beslan: Change Course on Russia

It is hardly possible to envisage an orgy of terrorist savagery more depraved than that staged by Chechen jihadists and their foreign cohorts, who butchered, tortured, and raped hundreds of Russian children in the town of Beslan last September.  The bloodbath at School No. 1 came at the end of a week in which two Russian passenger planes were blown up in midair and a lethal bomb exploded outside a Moscow metro station.

All of these attacks were terrorist in character and Islamic in the method of execution.  And yet the reaction of the elite class in much of the Western world was steeped in visceral Russophobia.  In blaming the victim, ridiculing Russia’s claim to be battling the same enemy that caused September 11, and advising “dialogue” with the Chechens, opinionmakers in Europe and America have displayed a surprising identity of cultural assumptions and ideological preferences.  The tone was set firmly by the New York Times and the Washington Post, parroted by countless local Gannett clones, and replicated at both ends of Europe’s political spectrum.

On the right, London’s conservative Daily Telegraph opined that, “given the deep-seated corruption of the Russian security forces and bureaucracy, this is unlikely to be the last incident of its kind.”  France’s Catholic La Croix also found the cause of Beslan in...

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