Moscow has lashed out at the prospect that the U.S. could “make unilateral moves” against Iraq without first obtaining approval from the U.N. or the international community, branding any such U.S. initiative as reminiscent of the “Cold War period” and the dream of U.S. world domination, according to official Russian sources.

Invoking a Soviet-era view of the post-World War II confrontation between the communist USSR and the U.S., Moscow described the Cold War as an era “when Washington was dreaming of a ‘Pax Americana,’ and was trying to scare the world with an empire evil discovered by President Reagan.”

The statements were carried by the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.

Moscow termed U.S. foreign policy as “arrogant as ever” and stated that the purported American arrogance “devalues Washington’s declarations of good intentions for everyone – including Russia.”

Observers note that, while U.S. President Ronald Reagan coined the term “evil empire,” much of the world already recoiled with horror at the Gulag system of political prison camps described by Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the illegal Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe after World War II, the brutal repression of the 1953 East Berlin revolt and the 1956 Hungarian revolution, the building and maintenance of the Berlin Wall, and the suppression of the 1968 “Prague Spring.”

The term “Pax Americana” is a reference to “Pax Romana” – the Roman peace – a period when Rome controlled the Mediterranean world and much of Europe, often through brute force.

Moscow acknowledged that the U.S. is “ready to strike out against Iraq” and has already warned the U.S. against carrying out military operations directed at Baghdad.

Iraq has had close relations with Moscow since the Soviet era and counts Russia as its largest foreign trading partner. According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov, Russia follows a policy seeking to “develop and deepen” both economic and political ties with Iraq, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Members of a U.S. congressional delegation on a recent visit to Moscow encountered firsthand the expression of Moscow’s position on what it calls American “unilateralism” and the possibility of U.S. military operations directed against Iraq.

Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo “advised” members of the delegation “not to mix up anti-terrorist operations” in an attempt to resolve what he described as America’s “geopolitical problems,” according to the Voice of Russia World Service.

No immediate reaction from the U.S. delegation was reported.

The delegation was headed by Rep. Jim Saxon, R-N.J., chairman of the House Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism.

The Saxon delegation had already visited Russia’s neighbor to the West, Belarus, where the group investigated allegations of illegal arms trafficking.

Belarus is a former Soviet republic ruled by the iron leadership of Alexander Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager, admirer of Josef Stalin and advocate of the establishment of a renewed Soviet Union. He presently is the chief executive of the Union of Russia and Belarus, established by treaty with Moscow in 1999.

Repeated media reports have linked Belarus with arms sales to terrorist networks.

Saxton stated that his group “encouraged … Belarus [to] make its system of arms sales and military training, and its financing, transparent. …” Saxton also observed that there was a “readiness” on the part of Belarusian officials “to cooperate in instituting an international system of arms-sales verification,” according to a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Belarusian Defense Minister Leanid Maltsau, however, denied that Belarus ever violated any international arms-sales regulations. Maltsau dismissed repeated reports of Belarus arms control violations, stating that “one paper refers to another and then it [an arms control violation report] is passed around,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Groups implicating Belarus as a major supplier of militant Islamic groups include U.S. and Israeli intelligence.

Related stories:

Moscow decries U.S. ‘arrogance’ on Iraq

Moscow warns U.S. not to start new fights

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