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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Putin Rolls Condi/Gates - Death of democracy in Russia

Photo: Putin challenges Bush to bare-chested photo shoot (perhaps?)

Russia's democracy is being strangled to death by Mr. Putin, who rolled Condi and Mr. Gates during their last meeting before the TV cameras. They looked visibly shocked when Putin opened up on them in the middle of a "photo op" where they expected the usual diplomatic small talk --not a lecture on global TV from the former KGB agent.

Condi and Gates smiled nervously and said nothing. Suddenly the U.S. call for democracy in places like Iraq and Burma has fallen silent and mute in the face of Russia's determined leader.

The loss of democracy in Russia is far more dangerous to future U.S. interests than the lack of it in Burma (Myanmar). Unlike Burma, Russia has tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and new oil wealth to fuel its expansion. Putin recently re-started Russia bomber flights that had stopped years ago. He threatened to back out of arms control treaties.

The Bush administration insistence on cramming a missile defense system in East Europe has been a strategic miscalculation. Like the previous NATO expansion under the Clinton administration, it has made Russia feel threatened. No matter that these are defensive missiles in nature and intended to intercept missiles heading towards Europe from Iran.

The administration's plan to put new missiles in Europe has given Putin an opportunity to smash his opposition.

We could be entering a new "cold war" in our relations with Russia, which has close ties to Iran. We need Russian cooperation to deal with Iran and other strategic issues. But that also gives Putin the chance to turn back the clock and return Russia to the "rule of men" instead of the "rule of law."

Once again I think our leadership has underestimated the opposition, got caught off-guard and was rolled by a very smart, determined globally-sophisticated opponent.

1 comment:

giltedged said...

"The Bush administration insistence on cramming a missile defense system in East Europe has been a strategic miscalculation" It certainly is. It is also against the wishes of the people in Poland and the Czech Republic where it is to be installed. Fully 70% of the countries' populations are against it. But their leaders for whatever reason want it.I think I know the reason why it's happening. It is called American democracy - ie get the CEO, you can neveer hope to sell to the people.