10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?

I was reading an old newspaper and came across these intriguing items:

"Russia Will Keep War Vessels in American Waters
New York, July 15.--Russia has decided to maintain a permanent fleet of war ships in American waters with New York as the naval centre. In naval circles this is looked on as significant in view of Great Britain reinforcing her naval force at Esquimault, B.C., as indicating some understanding between Russia and the United States in case of a conflict with Great Britain over Behring Sea troubles." and:

"Not Officially Known
Washington, July 15.--No official intimation was received by this government of the intent of Russia to establish a naval station on our eastern coast with headquarters at New York, but it is not doubted that such is the case. It is not believed the establishment of a Russian naval station on our coast is of any warlike import, but merely part of a general scheme of having convenient stations in different parts of the globe. The story is denied by Russian Consul General Olarovsky."

[tsarist flag]

The sharp-eyed reader might see the language of this news as dated. Yes, the newspaper I was reading was The Dubuque Times for Sunday morning, July 16, 1893--more than one hundred years ago--Tsar Alexander III's time and before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917,

True, things changed since then. Although the Russian navy in New York is probably far-fetched today, the fact remains the Cold War is over. On May 8, 1987, a quarter of a century ago, the US and Russia agreed to a sweeping disarmament agreement and brought the Cold War to a peaceful close.

The days of a nuclear balance of terror aka the "mutual suicide pact" are done. Today's Russia is no more an antagonist to America than many other nations with whom we routinely get along.

So I'd suggest we look on Russia less with the filtered memory of that 20th Century Marx-Leninist cul-de-sac, and more with the 19th Century memory of Seward's Folly.

Secretary of State William Seward got us the Russian colony of Alaska and among other riches, we've been a Klondike Strike gold and Arctic North Slope petroleum the better for that shrewd purchase.

But don't forget, Alaskan riches are not unlike those in Russian Siberia the other side of the Bering Strait. They have oil, strategic minerals deposits--and most recently, massive diamond deposits--resources suggesting cooperation not antagonism will take us forward into the 21st Century.

So Cold War over, let's move on with Russo-American relations!



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