Kremlin swipes at Carter, sets stage for post-Olympic troop buildup
The Kremlin is pushing ahead with fresh diplomatic maneuvers on two crisis fronts: * Using scathing verbal attacks against President Carter, it appears to be laying a diplomatic basis for sending more troops to Afghanistan after the Olympic Games end in Moscow Aug. 3.
* As Vietnamese Communist Party chief Le Duan arrived in moscow, ostensibly for a vacation, Moscow dedended Hanoi against charges it has sent forces into Thailand, a key United States ally and member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Moscow line is that the United States and China instigated infiltration into Cambodia of supporters of the ousted Pol Pot regime to discredit Vietnam and break up an allegedly growing closeness between Hanoi and the ASEAN countries (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines)
At the same time, the Soviet news agency TAss warns of US moves to gain base rights in Mombasa and Nairobi in Kenya as part of a string of bases from Oman on the Gulf southward to the island of Diego Garcia and stretching even farther south and east to Cockburn Sound in Western Australia (used as a port of call by US long-range nuclear submarines).
The general tone of Soviet commentaries is even more harshly anti-US following the announcement that some Soviet troops and tanks are coming out of Afghanistan.
Westerners here conclude that the Soviets want to be able to point to alleged new US (and Chinese) help to Afghan rebels to justify any new Soviet troops moving into Afghanistan from now on.
A logical time would be right after the Moscow Olympics. The Kremlin seems confident it is riding out Western the US as immobile until after the November elections.
More troops would mean more NATO disapproval. But the Soviets are said to be encouraged at disarray in NATO, by which they mean their recent talks with French
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing and those with West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Moscow scheduled for June 30- July 1.
Moscow needs less armor and more m3bile antiguerrilla infantry units in Afghanistan. Asian diplomats here see them needing triple the 90,000 men they now have if they are to reduce rebel effectiveness significantly.
Tass June 26 said Mr. Carter was spreading "deliberately scandalous fabrications" about a Soviet "menace."
Another Soviet commentary, following others that dismissed the Carter proposals for "transitional arrangements" in Afghanistan as vague, criticized such talk again, this time as "the legalization of aggression."
In Southeast Asia, Moscow links the US and China and says they instigated the latest fighting on the eve of the conference of ASEAN foreign ministers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
the Kremlin cites new US arms aid to Thailand as "proof" of its own version of events.
The government newspaper Izvestia said June 28 the US aim is to try to turn ASEAN into a military rather than primarily an economic grouping. Washington is calling on Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan for aid.
Izvestia conceded that the Kuala Lumpur communique did refuse to recognize the pro- Moscow Heng Samrin government in Phnom Pen, Cambodia, and opposed the moscow- Hanoi version of the Thai-Cambodian border clashes.
But Izvestia and Tass insist relations between Hanoi and ASEAN are improving -- and omit all references to the Kuala Lumpur condemnation of Vietnamese aggression in Thailand.