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We have recently been hit with a wave of curious stories. For
example, there recently appeared a report about illegal immigration from
Mexico. Strangely, it wasn’t about Mexican illegal immigrants. It was
about OTMs — Other Than Mexicans — slinking across our southern
frontier. Apparently the
United States Border Patrol’s Tucson and Yuma sectors, over the past two
years, have apprehended 119 mainland Chinese, 31 Bulgarians, 15 Cubans,
10 Lebanese, 10 Poles, nine Filipinos, nine Indians, seven Iranians, six
Romanians, and six Russians.

What’s so curious about these figures? China, Bulgaria, Cuba, Poland,
Romania and Russia — six of the ten countries mentioned — are part of
the “former” Communist bloc. Of the OTMs caught trying to penetrate that
particular sector of the U.S. border, 187 out of 222 were either from
Communist countries or “former” Communist countries.

Here’s another interesting story: The Russian General Staff is
preparing for a large military exercise called “Combat Commonwealth 99.”
This giant war game will involve forces from Russia, Belarus, Armenia,
Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan. The drill will commence with operations
carried out by the Air
and Air Defense forces. The exercise will simulate defense against a
missile strike on the “former” Soviet Union (now dubbed the
“Commonwealth of Independent States”).

Here is another curious story: Last Saturday Russian news sources
told of a high level Kremlin meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sergei
Stepashin. The meeting was about improved methods for protecting the
Russian people in the event of a thermonuclear war. Sources reported
that a new civil defense doctrine was being prepared. Itar-Tass said,
“Participants at the meeting believe that protection of the population
is the most important task of the state.”

Another curious fact reared its head in Khabarovsk, Russia, last
Sunday. According to railway chief Aleksandr Strelnik, the amount of
freight hauled on Russia’s Far Eastern Railway has recently jumped by 49
percent. No explanation was offered for this increase. As you might
guess, tourists are
not exactly flocking to Siberia, and the local economy is said to be
stagnant. Of course, the Russian Far East is noted for being one of the
world’s largest repositories of mothballed tanks, self-propelled guns,
armored personnel carriers, hydrogen bombs and missiles. A dramatic
increase in Siberian rail traffic could mean that the repository is
being tapped.

Here’s another item: Last Sunday they were celebrating Airborne
Trooper Day in Moscow. General Aleksandr Lebed, himself an old
paratrooper, attended the festivities and offered an alarming prediction
about growing unrest in the North Caucasus (i.e., Chechnya). Lebed said
that “complications in the North Caucasus might lead to a state of
emergency in the whole of Russia.”

On Monday, the day after the general’s statement, there was a huge
gun battle in the North Caucasus between “bandits” and Russian
authorities, leaving 10 dead and several wounded.

And yet another odd story appears: Adm. Dennis Blair, commander in
chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific, met with members of Congress and
congressional aides last week. According to Bill Gertz of the Washington
Times, Adm. Blair referred to Taiwan as “the turd in the punchbowl.” On
the subject of defending Taiwan in the event of a Communist invasion,
Adm. Blair was quoted as saying: “I don’t think we should support them
at all.”

Anyone familiar with the military knows that a ranking admiral
wouldn’t dare make statements of this kind unless supported by the
president. If any top commander ever says something political that goes
against policy, then he is sure to be slapped down. And that leads us to
what recently happened to Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO supreme commander.

Well, he’s not supreme for long.

It appears that Gen. Clark did something rather foolish last month
when he testified before a Senate committee about the Russians capturing
Pristina airport. When asked why he’d been caught off guard by the
Russian march on Pristina, Clark replied that he hadn’t been caught off
guard. According to Clark, a higher authority had purposely allowed
Pristina to fall to the Russians.

Uh oh. This was a naughty thing to have said. Everybody knows that
only one authority stands higher than a four star general. It’s not nice
to imply that the president was to blame for the most embarrassing
debacle of the Balkan campaign. Obviously, this could not go unpunished.
So it wasn’t
surprising when President Clinton retaliated by cutting short General
Clark’s term as supreme NATO commander by two months.

Worse yet, a story was leaked to Newsweek suggesting that Clark had
risked World War III by ordering an air assault to grab Pristina before
the Russians could reach it. Clark’s subordinate, British Lt. Gen.
Michael Jackson, refused to carry out the order.

So now Gen. Clark — who was Clinton’s dromedary in NATO — is now
Clinton’s whipping boy. From henceforth Clark is to be depicted as an
irresponsible warmonger who almost unleashed a global holocaust.

What a wonderful twist. The president pushes NATO into an act of
aggression against a Slavic country. He enrages the Russian people, he
enables Russia to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops, he uses up
precious cruise missiles bombing a country that has no significance for
our
national security, then he allows the Russians to capture the most
significant facility in the contested province. When this is pointed out
by Gen. Clark — bang, crash, kaboom. Smoke curls up from a smoldering
Clark.

Odd facts feed on each other, they multiply, and they bring us
further oddities. Last month President Clinton enacted sanctions against
those who were once called “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan. He failed
to oppose U.N. sanctions against anti-Communist rebels in Angola. He
also declined to support Colombia’s request for $ 500 million to fight
Communist insurgents who
now control 40 percent of that Latin American country. All across the
board there are these curious little facts.

Earlier this week China test-fired a new ballistic missile weapon,
the DF-31. It is road mobile and was made possible by Chinese thefts of
U.S. nuclear and missile technology. These thefts were facilitated by
the lax security measures of the Clinton administration.

Another curious tidbit: President Clinton’s press conference last
month was weird. He joked and clowned with the press like a giddy
teenager. He rested his chin playfully on the palm of his hand. He
grinned from ear to ear. He even cackled.

No doubt there is something funny going on. But I’m not laughing.

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