While Bush Fiddles, Russia Reemerges

Although the public is beginning to come around on national security, actually favoring the Democrats over  on the issue, the media still seems stuck on the meme that the Republicans are more competent on foreign affairs than the Democrats or simply ignoring the Democrats' case that their ideas on strengthening America are more effective than those of the Republicans. Just this week, for instance, the Cynthia McKinney fracas garnered "a mention on the front page of The New York Times, something that the dozens of House and Senate Democrats combined couldn't match when they unveiled their homeland-security plan last week," as Josephine Hearn notes in The Hill.

There has been some pushback recently, however, as Democrats try to force the media to pay attention to their argument. On "Meet the Press" last week, retired General Anthony Zinni called on Donald Rumsfeld to resign, a call that is seconded by retired Lieutenant General Greg Newbold in this week's issue of Time. What's more, serious questions about President Bush's stance towards Russia -- which I raised a couple of weeks ago -- finally seem to be winding up in newspapers. For example, Steven R. Weisman writes the following in The New York Times Week in Review under the headline "Just When It's Needed, Russia's Not There."

The most recent complaints about Russia are that it blocked a strong United Nations Security Council move against Iran, and has reached out to Hamas while most of the West is turning its back.

In addition, the days of the United States' being welcome to set up shop in the old Soviet empire are gone; Mr. Putin's government is working with Central Asian countries to push American forces out. It has placed new curbs on Western investment in energy. Worse, it has used its spigot on piped natural gas as a club to reward allies (like Belarus) and punish less obedient countries (like Ukraine).

President Bush's top aides have come to dread what Mr. Putin might do when he plays host to the summit of leading industrial nations in St. Petersburg in July. He could turn it into a grand celebration of Russia's new determination to pursue its own interests, whether his guests like it or not. He has already vented frustration over what he sees as American-led efforts to deny Russia its security interests, and to block its accession to the World Trade Organization.

America expended much too much effort during the second half of the 20th century declawing Soviet Russia -- including a significant amount of money and time during the 1990s to bolster the fledgling Russian democracy -- to allow Russia to become a strategic competitor today simply because our attention has been focused on other areas of the world. Responsible leadership is required out of both the White House and the Congress to ensure that appropriate tabs are kept on Russia and that the situation does not get out of hand in the region, and given the fact that the Republican Party has shown scant willingness to appropriate enough time and energy towards monitoring the activities of Vladimir Putin, America's only choice is to elect a Democratic Congress this fall.

Tags: George W. Bush, National Security, russia (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Re: While Bush Fiddles, Russia Reemerges

So let me get this straight:

We are not yet finished asking "Who lost Iraq?"....

....and already we need to start asking "Who lost Russia?"

And I thought Vladimir was our friend.

I imagine, when Bush made his "looked into his soul" remark, there was quiet laughter behind Putin's cold eyes.....

by Taylor26 2006-04-09 03:06PM | 0 recs
In Soviet Russia

Soul looks into you!

by jcjcjc 2006-04-09 09:05PM | 0 recs
Re: In Soviet Russia

Very good. Very, very good.

by Jonathan Singer 2006-04-09 10:53PM | 0 recs
Re: While Bush Fiddles, Russia Reemerges

If the Russians were smart and really wanted to beard the U.S., they'd start picking up some of the slack in aid to the PLA.  Now THAT would get some media attention and give the Chimp in Chief a new glimpse into Putey Pute's soul. If they really wanted to get our knickers into a twist they could start selling the Iranians some of their more advanced air defense weapons as well as some of their more advanced antishipping weapons.  An American nuclear assault on their southern flank is not something the Kremlin will take particularly well.

by Retired Catholic 2006-04-09 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: While Bush Fiddles, Russia Reemerges

I agree with your analysis. What we see developing in Russia today is UGLY. Russia under Mr. Bu$h's soulmate Valdimar (KGB) Putin is rapidly de-evolving into a neo-fascist authouritarian security state. Putin has gutted the fledgling democracy and replaced it with a "leader" state. But then Bu$hCo has steadily been moving America in the same direction hasn't it? The Energy mafia in Russia rules there as it does here.

by Blutodog 2006-04-09 03:21PM | 0 recs
Are you suggesting to Russia play Dead?

People in Russia actually never gave up the
mentality of great country and don't expect them
to be an American slaves, regardless of their
political system. They know now that American
political system is bad and looks more and
more like single-party rule, similar to USSR.

Russia, thanks to idiotic Bush policies,
can finance itself out of post-soviet hole thanks
high oil prices. In addition, Russia managed to
preserve its creativity as a weapon producer and
still a world leader in space and missile
technologies.
Russia has much better relations with
China (compare with US-China Relationship) and
recently earned a lot of extra points in Arab world,
Latin America and actually in many other places.
Russia is determined to restore their superpower
status, regardless of how much it will cost.
And finally: after last 6 years, US lost any
moral authority to tell to Russia what to do
and they increasingly ignoring all US moves.
They like Bush for very simple reason: he is a
stupid misleader, which is helping other
countries in many directions.

by WeNeed3rdParty 2006-04-09 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: While Bush Fiddles, Russia Reemerges

Add an entire continent that has soured on America, as evidenced by consistent wins by lefties in South America.

by notime4lies 2006-04-09 08:37PM | 0 recs
Re: While Bush Fiddles, Russia Reemerges

Oh and one more thing; that nasty business about attacking Iran, "Forget about it."

No way, no how is Russia, or for that matter China gonna allow the US to control all the oil in the Middle East.

So we're stuck with the fractured Iraq and can't do a damn thing about Iran, the country that should have been at the top of our list of worries.  

Iran can go ahead and arm herself as she pleases, and there ain't a damn thing America can do about it.

We're a toothless tiger who can only growl; and claw at a few hapless pigeons along the way. although even that option is starting to wane.

by notime4lies 2006-04-09 08:43PM | 0 recs
Check out this article on Russia's moves in the

//Asia Times Online, Hong Kong            Apr 8, 2006

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East /HD08Ak03.html

Middle East....also see what Bandar Bush has been up to!

(Posted to the new World Media Watch, at Buzzflash.com tomorrow, Wed.)

`SEARCHING FOR ATTACKERS LURKING IN THE NIGHT'

By M K Bhadrakumar

[M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for more than 29 years, with postings including ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-98) and to Turkey (1998-2001).]

There is enormous political symbolism in the circuitous route that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took for visiting Baghdad on Monday. She headed first to the quiet British town of Blackburn for a weekend's bonding with her British allies, and then proceeded to Iraq, accompanied by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Any limited perspective on the Rice-Straw mission in terms of cajoling Ibrahim al-Jaafari to give up his prime ministership in  Baghdad overlooks that Iraq is the cornerstone of the United States' imperial venture in remaking the Middle East, with the objective of controlling the region - its flows of oil, weapons and money.

Two major powers traditionally active in the region are responding to the Anglo-American drive for a New Middle East - Russia and Turkey.

The Russian moves are impressive - strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia, gaining observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC), revival of ties with Syria and Egypt, contact with Hamas, networking with Iraqi Sunni tribal leaderships, institutional ties with the Arab League, and, arguably, the heavily nuanced line on Iran.

Germane to all this, Moscow perceives a likely replay of past Anglo-American attempts to pit the Muslim world against Russia. Given its history, geography and culture and the multinational and multi-faith character of its society, Russia has everything to lose in an "inter-civilizational" conflict.

(SNIP)

It comes as no surprise that the countries of the Arab Middle East have warmed to the Russian overtures.

Moscow hosted on March 27-28 the first session of the so-called Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group comprising Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Egypt, etc. Putin greeted the foreign delegates attending the conference. Significantly, Yevgeni Primakov, former prime minister and renowned orientalist who played a key role in crafting the Soviet Union's ties with the Arab world through the Cold War years, chaired the Moscow meet.

Again, the head of the Saudi National Security Council, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, paid a "working visit" to Moscow on Tuesday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the hugely influential Saudi prince's agenda included the Palestine issue, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and "conditions in Iraq", apart from "building up and deepening" Russia-Saudi relations.

MORE

by Gloria 2006-04-09 09:49PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads