Bush Republicans: Negligent on Russia
by Jonathan Singer, Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 01:36:47 PM EDT
While driving around in my car on Thursday evening I heard a rather disturbing story on NPR's All Things Considered: tensions between the United States and Russia are ratcheting up, the relationship between the two countries worsening to a level of antipathy unseen in decades. As Gregory Feifer explains,
Deteriorating ties between the White House and the Kremlin in recent months have prompted talk of a new Cold War. Some foreign policy analysts say that's because Moscow doesn't share Western values -- which Western countries have been slow to understand. [emphasis added]
You can listen to the entire story on the link above, but suffice it to say that there is mounting evidence that the Bush administration has been shockingly negligent in dealing with Russia -- an argument I have forwarded a couple of times (here and here) in recent weeks. Yet another example of this worrisome trend comes across the AP wires this afternoon with an article by Steve Gutterman.
A top Kremlin diplomat warned against threatening Iran with sanctions or the use of force, saying that would only aggravate the international standoff over Tehran's suspect nuclear program, Russian media reports said Saturday.
For all of the time that the right spends lionizing Ronald Reagan for "ending the Cold War and defeating Soviet Russia" (a claim whose dubiousness I will not deal with in this post) it's very surprising that conservatives are giving George W. Bush and the Republican Congress a pass for allowing Russia to try to dictate American foreign policy. Remember, it was not that long ago that the central tenet of the Republican Party was fighting Russia influence around the world, particularly when it was in direct opposition to American policy.
I believe that a very credible case can be made that the Republican Party cannot be trusted when it comes to dealings with Russia. And this argument is not limited to George W. Bush's excessively soft stance towards Vladimir Putin. Don't forget that Russian oligarchs have been funneling millions of dollars into Republican lobbying firms and cozying up to high ranking GOP lawmakers like Tom DeLay and Curt Weldon.
America does not need to take such an aggressive stance towards Russia that another Cold War does ensue. All the same, America cannot afford to continue the policy of the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress by forgetting Russia, allowing the former superpower to dominate its smaller neighbors and interfere in the Middle East on behalf of Iran, Hamas and others -- and it's right time a leading Democrat said as much.