The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Russia Horror in Ingushetia

As the Washington Post reports this morning, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the funeral for a slain Russian policeman in the southern city of Rostov on the Don. Seven people were killed and at least twelve badly injured.

According to reports in Russia, the slain policeman had been killed in the troubled Russian Caucasus republic of Ingushetia. The attack was the latest incident in a wave of violent attacks on police and on Shiites in southern Russia.

Although we have had some home grown attacks, for most Americans terror is a foreign policy problem. For Russia, the threat of massive internal violence is very real.

There are a lot of things about President Putin’s government that Americans generally dislike, but this should not blind people in either Moscow or Washington to the huge importance of cooperating in the shared struggle against fanatical terror. We’ve written earlier on Via Meadia about the way that Russia’s concern about domestic violence helps shape its attitude toward what it sees as a “Sunni surge” in Syria. Those fears are not entirely unfounded, and in the wake of the fall of the Assad regime Russia could well find more arms and fighters being smuggled across its borders.

While accepting that the two sides will never agree about everything, Russia and the US need to think hard about how we can cooperate on some vital issues that affect us both.

Correction: The AP report on which the Washington Post story is based is somewhat misleadingly phrased. The original version of this post assumed the attack took place in Rostov on the Don. The attack actually took place in Ingushetia. Thanks to VM reader Larry for the catch.

Published on August 19, 2012 12:24 pm
  • Larry

    The Washington Post report was filed from Rostov, but reading the story it appears that the bombing took place in Ingushetia, one of the violent Russian Republics in the North Caucasus region.

  • Gregory

    as Henry Kissinger once said on another occasion, “pity they cannot both lose”.

  • willis

    “Russia and the US need to think hard about how we can cooperate on some vital issues that affect us both.”

    I suspect they are waiting until after the presidential election.

  • Matt

    What would cooperating with the Russians on combatting terrorism look like? Are you implying that we should view the Arab spring with greater suspicion and work with Russia to keep any new regimes there from becoming to Islamist? Or do you mean the more traditional approach of intelligence sharing, etc., on terrorist groups/plots/weapons?

  • FJ

    How about our cooperation in exchange for theirs re Iranian nukes? So far, it’s been all give by us, all take by them.

  • Despiser

    Russians (like Democrats) have proven over and over they arent smart enough to value freedom. Like our current leader in America when youve been conditioned to accept the concept of an all powerful Central Govt you have already lost your ability to conceptualize true freedom.

  • David R. Graham

    Yes, and the triangulating power of that strategic alliance is India. Germany and Japan are close supporting vectors. But USA, Russia and India are the principal allies for as long forward as I, at least, can see. These five and especially those three are brothers, joint makers of human destiny now and ahead. That is the “post-Cold War world,” not the fear-inducing chaos we see now.

  • http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/ Patrick Armstrong

    A train that left the station some time ago.
    1. Putin was one of the first leaders to phone Bush after 911 to offer support.
    2. Very significant support was given through Russia to the Northern Alliance when the US invaded Afghanistan.
    3. When the US realised that Moscow was correct in saying there was a nest of jihadists in Georgia’s Pankisi Valley, there was serious cooperation in doing something about it.

    Russia also on several occasions warned the West what was coming down before 911.

    But, as usual, the Western MSM carried little of this and has never really got what happened in Chechnya in 1995 right.

    And so, we have commentators who, in their ignorance, say things like “it’s been all give by us, all take by them.”

  • will

    I do think the Russians have a longer-term view in the Middle East than the flavor-of-the-month crowd around BHO. And the Russians understand Sunni Muslim violent tendencies.

  • Steve Koch

    “For Russia, the threat of massive internal violence is very real.”

    Could you explain why the threat is “massive”? Maybe it is but you don’t explain why. You might start by pointing out that the the Russian Muslim population is growing rapidly while the non Muslim population in Russia is declining. Time is on the side of the Islamic radicals in Russia.