December 08, 2004

The Long Honeymoon Ends?

"I honestly say that I cannot imagine how elections can be organised under a full occupation of the country by foreign troops." "I also cannot imagine how you on your own will be able to restore the situation in the country and stop it from breaking up."

Jacques Chirac? Gerhard? Kofi? Nope, Vladimir Putin.

Ljubljana seems far away, doesn't it? Still bilateral relations, all told, are likely still pretty OK. That said, it has been a choppy couple of weeks...What do commenters think? Are U.S.-Russian relations a) set to steadily decline in Bush's second term, b) just going through a temporary hiccup born of a confluence of events (Ukraine, Iraq, etc), c) in reality just status quo behind the scenes or d) none of the above?

Posted by Gregory at December 8, 2004 06:04 AM
Comments

Weimar Russia has arrived. Here's hoping Condi knows what she's doing.

Posted by: praktike at December 8, 2004 06:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

So Putin is no longer a friend because he speaks the truth.

I know you rightwingers are into thought control and crushing out dissonance and all, but, in the real world, friends tell each other the truth. They keep each other straight.

Weimer Amerika has arrived.

And for that reason relations with Russia will decline. America cannot be trusted. Drunk on delusions of power, America has become an imperial lone wolf. Russia will respond by rebuilding defenses.

Any chess player could have predicted that the Bush/neocon approach would cause a rebuilding of the iron curtain (as well as various other strategic alliances in opposition to the US).

Too bad there are no chess players in the Bush/neocon camp. Instead, only the ridiculously idealistic cronies of imperialist US big business.

Posted by: avedis at December 8, 2004 11:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pooty-poots is still pissed off about Ukraine. Understandable.

But he has also made lots of positive statements that were helpful to Bush in the past too, so let's have a wait-and-see first.

Posted by: john marzan at December 8, 2004 01:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Quit bandying Weimar about. Neither of you have any clue what you are saying. Russia has long term interests of its own which are not compatible with US interests. Putin is merely acting on those interests/desires - and losing just about every time he tries. BTW avedis, those are American military bases in the "stans" and the former Warsaw pact countries now - so all talk of an iron curtain is so much bilge. Russia is weak, now and for the foreseeable future. Base your understanding of the situation on that reality. Putin acts the way he does because Russia is weak economically, militarily and culturally. He has a few industries which work - like arms manufacture. Who can he sell them to but people like Sadaam - they have oil and therefore hard currency. The demographic situation in Russia has stabilized somewhat, but the people realize they are barely getting by. In order to significantly improve Putin would have to give up control - and he won't do that. Prediction - Russia limps along until the ex-KGB goon leaves.

Posted by: RKV at December 8, 2004 01:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Agree with RKV for the most part. Russia's national interest does not line up with ours at as many points as we'd like to think, their economy, military and culture are in shambles, and the whole Ukraine thing didn't help. Is Putin's removal key to the return the halcyon days of Russian Might and Glory? I doubt it.

Posted by: Tamquam L. Rugiens at December 8, 2004 02:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Judging by his/her post, it seems avedis has brought a set of checkers to a chess match.

Posted by: fingerowner at December 8, 2004 02:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

RKV, If the 'stans wanted the US troops gone, they could do it by force. 140,000 troops can't secure Iraq. A few thousand (at best) in some lonesome 'stan can't do jack against a homegrown and/or Kremlin inspired uprising.

Furthermore, Russia is now developing all sorts of new and scary ordnance. Just as they forced us to remove our missiles from Turkey by placing theirs in Cuba, there are strategic ways of having us agree to pull out of the 'stans.

It is America that is weak. We have drained our military resources on a senseless adventure in Iraq. We have drained our financial resources on senseless tax cuts for the wealthy. We are allowing foreign governments to control our economy through acquisition of our debt instruments.

I believe Putin now senses the US' impotence, as does the world. We can't act against N.Korea, how can we act against Russia? We can't secure Iraq/afghanistan, how can we secure the 'stans? We can't afford to float much more debt, how can we indulge in further military build up?

Funny, elections and democracy really didn't do much for Russia. But elections will bring about a flourishing, prosperous, peaceful, democratic society in Iraq?

Interesting is the intellect of the conservative.

Posted by: avedis at December 8, 2004 04:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

HOW HAVE THE ELECTIONS IN CHECHNYA GONE, VLADIMIR;
A COUNTRY UNDER RUSSIAN OCCUPATION, FOR THE BETTER PART of TWO HUNDRED YEARS. INSPIRING AT
LEAST TWO OF THE MECCA CREW OF 9/11 HIJACKERS
AND MASSAOUI

Posted by: NARCISO at December 8, 2004 05:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

avedis:

you're quite right when you say if the 'stans wanted US troops gone, they could do it. And yet US troops are still there. What does that tell you?

I express no opinion on the larger question. I have little evidence for my view that we will muddle along as shaky, wary allies for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Ignatius Byrd at December 8, 2004 06:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

two little men, not quite the same.
one by primogeniture has complete power.
one by will to power and luck is the backone of russia.
putin has the trigger on the mushroom.
dubya has the same.

i suggest we learn a little mandarin.

Posted by: two little men at December 8, 2004 08:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

GW/Putin/China: our history books, for thousands of years, have been filled with stories of power (political & religous), alliances and the related pursuit of economic benefits. So, while 4 years is but a dust mite, the eagle and the bear will remain closely allied as Russia adopts and adjusts to elements of capitalism and democracy; especially as, in the mysterious east, China, in a closed political society, continues to work within the global capital markets structures to gain access to the global resources it requires.
In its short history as a global power, (and, despite Iraq) America has allied with Russia often enough to warily, but successfully, focus on common goals and threats. Putin wants and needs America as an ally. GW will support Putin - the price will be more democratic decisions in Russia.
China tried alliances briefly with both powers, but seems to be most comfortable on its own. Ironically, American history hasn't yet told us whether American culture will have the sustainability or perseverance of the Chinese culture.
In the absence of that history, America wants (and needs) a powerful friend beyond England - accordingly, GW will support Putin within their common pursuit of economic gain and their common mindset on responding to radical Islamists; and, perhaps, they will continue to share a sense that it might take both their powers to respond to that giant panda which continues to gulp global resources.

Posted by: Tom Goldspink at December 9, 2004 01:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ignatius, all things in due time.

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