by Stephen Bryen
Last year I published the article posted below about Russia’s March of the Immortals. This march, which commemorates the lost soldiers and fighters in World War II is of great importance to the millions of families who lost loved ones in World War 2. I wondered about two things when I originally wrote about the Immortals March: (1) Why we did not have our own march to commemorate those lost in World War II and in other wars –Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria– and to give thereby solace to the families of the fallen; (2) Why American leaders did not attend the Russian March of the Immortals, as Russia was not only our ally in World War II, but without Russia we could have very easily lost the war to the Nazis. At minimum Russia helped save thousands of American lives.
This year there is one major change in both the Russian Victory Parade and the March of the Immortals. That is that one major world leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister was at both ceremonies and he carried a placard commemorating a lost relative, marching alongside President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
Keep in mind that the Victory Parade is a military display that features Russia’s latest weapons and shows off Russia’s top manpower. Even so, American officials used to attend, even in the darkest days of the Soviet Union.
President Trump’s hand has been tied behind his back by the incessant and largely nonsensical and vicious Mueller investigation into Russian tampering with the U.S. Presidential election. This has made it impossible for the President to do much constructive in regard to moving the dialog with Russia forward. Thus there are no American principals at the parade.
Perhaps there is a lesson with Mr. Netanyahu. Israel cannot be happy with either Russia’s support for Bashar Assad’s minority government in Syria, or Russian connivance with the Iranians and Hezbollah. But nonetheless the two leaders have tried to forge some sort of modus vivendi, even in the midst of an Israeli bombing attack on Iranian positions in Syria the night before Netanyahu flew to Moscow to attend the ceremonies. If Putin thought the meeting with Netanyahu was fruitless or political inadvisable, be would have told Netanyahu not to come. But the reverse is the case.
Washington should pay attention.