Eastern RE-SET Button for US-Russian relations

Author: us-russia
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Eastern RE-SET Button for US-Russian relations
Published 29-12-2012, 13:49

George Koumal

President, The Interhemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group, Co-Chairman, Bering Strait Peace Forum
The Honorable
Dana Rohrabacher
US House of Representatives
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC20515

Dear Congressman,

Very wise man and friend of mine recommended to begin this letter with reassurance that it is not just another request for help with some funding. We are aware that Uncle Sam is broke. On contrary, the wealth discussed in this letter is the kind Andrew Carnegie spoke about as wealth able to do real and permanent good in the World!

I had the honor to meet you last year as well as earlier this year, if my memory serves me well, at the Russian Forum Conference in Washington DC. I also read with interest in WSJ your reaction to UC Congress act ending the Jackson – Vanik amendment. Both gave me confidence that sharing with you information on our Efforts to bring our country and Russia closer together, will fall on fertile ground. However what triggered this letter is mind bugling and almost unbelievable: I just learned that at the height of the Cold War, we have been importing Titanium from Russia to build the SR-71 (Blackbird) spy plane with full Russian knowledge that this plane will be used to fly high and fast over Russian territory to spy on them. 

There is many other things where the two nations cooperate. We continue to share the Mir Space station and just a few days ago, new residents of the station, one American, one Russian and one Canadian, took off from Kazakhstan to spent next several months orbiting the Earth calling the Mir their home. How can I square all this with the Magnitsky Rule , a poison pill attached to US Congress legislation of August 6, 2012 ending the Jackson-Vanik amendment and opening the doors to truly full membership and cooperation of Russia within the WTO. As abhorrent the Magnitsky affair may be, it should have been dealt with outside the Congressional legislation on trade between our two countries. Now I hear that in response to Magnitsky amendment, Russia will retaliate by ending adoption of parentless Russian children by American parents. Some 740,000  orphans in Russia are now part of the political game the two Superpowers love to play. It would not hurt if our Diplomatic dealing with Russia as well as other nations would be done with doze of sensitivity and understanding of national pride and right timing. Consequently, more and more testimony how unreliable is the working of the Re-set button for US-Russian relations. It confirms that not much have changed from long history of the relationship between our two countries: we bark, challenge, irritate and provoke each other almost to the brink of nuclear conflict (Able Archer NATO exercise in  November 1983 or the Cuban Missile crises in October 1962) but based on history, when it really counts, we join forces for the good of both nations and indeed the World: 

-Russia was our friend during the 1812 war with England- Russian Pacific squadron anchored in San Francisco harbor, closing the US west coast to Royal Navy. Russia was among first major nations to recognize the United States.
- It was US Government who helped Russia to end the Russo-Japanese War of 1905
- both countries were allies during the WW1
-US companies assisted with construction of some major civil engineering Projects in Soviet Union
-we were allies in WW2
-even during the Cold War there were friendly exchanges between the two countries, such as Kama truck factory sale and other than Titanium shipments mentioned above and both government were rational enough to prevent the Cold War turning to Hot War and Global suicide. 
-the current joint Space research speaks for itself.
-Last year, Russian oil tanker with ice breaking capability named  Renda struggled through unusually thick ice in Bering Sea and with the help of US Coast Guard ice breaker Healy delivered much needed fuel to Nome. Friend in need is friend indeed.

The truth of the matter is that US and Russia are natural allies. Both countries have territory on two continents and in Western as well as in Eastern hemisphere and are close neighbors separated from each other only by narrow cold waters of the Bering Strait, actually by 2.5 miles wide channel of the water between Little (US) and Big (Russia) Diomede Islands, Mother Nature put right in the middle of the Strait , like stepping stones between the continents , as if inviting Men to cross.  Crossing the Strait to Russia from Alaska is trip from Today to Tomorrow, thanks to International Date Line between the two Diomede Islands.

For more than 26 years, we have been trying to resurrect 160 years old Project from President Lincoln times, calling for construction of Intercontinental railroad which would through tunnel under the Bering Strait connect the Arctic regions on all three continents, leaving Asia in the middle with her hands outstretched in friendly hand shake to Europe in the West and America in the East. While the railroad would establish major E-W and W-E transport artery (Northwest and Northeast passage in one) in Latitudes where these distances are the shortest, it would also be the most suitable tool to develop the Natural Resources of the Arctic on all three continents, regions covering over 22% of dry land on this planet. While it would be too late to prevent our slide over the Fiscal Cliff, wealth and prosperity would be created with truly Global impact. Even more important would be very positive influence of this Project on Global politics. With resources, energy above all, available from the Arctic, China will have no need to build aircraft carriers to protect oil shipping sea lines and claiming  territories  in different parts of the Pacific claimed by other nations. The realization of the Project will create Primary and Real Wealth which forms the basis of healthy Economy and Prosperity and with Prosperity comes Peace.

Please see if you can help us, working with the US Government, to relocate the Reset Button from the West, where there is all the  old baggage  obstructing the path to understanding between us and the Russians as well as the Atlantic itself is in the way , to the shores of Pacific in Asia in the East, where there is nothing in the way to distract from mutual interest of Russia and the United States. Considering present situation in US –Russian relations and overall political climate in the World, the Lincoln’s* idea for the Arctic railroad is also highly timely undertaking.

While this letter is written on behalf of organizations here, in Russia, England and in Rep. of Korea, Japan, who combined their forces to work toward the realization of the Bering Strait Project and the Arctic development, the opinions and views expressed in the letter are entirely my own. However, I will share the copy of this letter with all of them.

I elected telefax to send you this letter because it avoids scrutiny and delays in delivery to members of congress of any written material sent by US mail. Copy of the letter will also go as E-mail attachment to Alaska Congressional delegation, Governor of Alaska, Russian Embassy,  Russian Federal Government and other interested parties.

                                                                    Deep Regards,
George Koumal
President, The Interhemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group
Co-Chairman, Bering Strait Peace Forum
There is no Peace without Prosperity and there is no Prosperity without Peace

Copy: Ambassador Chung Tae Ik, Bering Strait Peace Forum, Seoul
        Dr. Victor Razbegin, SOPS Moscow
        Mr. James Oliver, Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, London
        Mr. Joseph R. Henri, Anchorage, Alaska
        Dr. Edward Lozansky, President, American University, Moscow
        Mr. Larry Moffitt, Vice President, The Washington Times Foundation

* Loking down on us from Heavens, Lincoln cannot be too happy with what he see. Steps taken to bring the Bering Strait Project closer to reality will lift up his heart.
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