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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another Lurch In the Global War On Diplomacy

Picture Courtesy of The White House

This post Stolen from Michael Linn Jones...

President George W. Bush is in Europe. And, he’s smiling. Why not? He’s not in the United States where his policies and actions have rendered him a rolling-up of the welcome mat in many places.

So, off to Europe for eight days of lecturing a number of nations in the fashion that he has become accustomed to back home. Like 70% of Americans, many around the globe just don’t get it. So President Bush is going to give another series of Jackson Square speeches that are, in the parlance of his native state, all hat and no cattle.

In trying to determine what President Bush’s strong points are, I find it best to use the process of elimination. It’s a long list, but mastery of the English language is not one. The ability to receive (let alone accept) contrary advice or opinions is another. Now I have to add diplomacy. Whatever is at stake is not going to be helped by this trip.

Jennifer Loven of AP has an article, BUSH: RUSSIANS HAVE DERAILED REFORMS .

Russian President Vladmir Putin has been in need of a lecture, and George W. Bush is just the man to deliver it.

“In Russia, reforms that once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development,” Bush said, speaking at a conference of current and former dissidents.

The president asserted that this discussion of democratic backsliding in Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin was just one part of a strong relationship. “America can maintain a friendship and push a nation toward democracy at the same time,” Bush said.

But the lecture, however gentle, was not likely to be well-received by Putin, already riled over what he sees as unwelcome meddling by the United States in Russia’s sphere of influence.
Most recently, Moscow has become increasingly irritated by U.S. plans to build a missile shield in Eastern Europe, on Russia’s doorstep.

U.S. officials have been alarmed by threatening statements from Putin and others over the proposed network. Russia believes the system — with a radar base to be sited in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland — is meant for it. Putin has said he has no choice but to boost his nation’s own military potential in response.

President Putin may be a ruthless scoundrel. Then, he may not. He doesn’t appear to be a big proponent of democracy, and that is putting it mildly. But, to be fair, how would we react if the Russians established a “missile defense shield” in Cuba or Mexico, and reassured us that it was aimed at say, Bermuda instead of us?

Our president is telling the Russians that this shield is aimed at rogue states, such as Iran. He is also saying the Cold War is over. These type of statements might be addressed diplomatically. But what is regional or world stability compared to a good photo op?

There is a smell of Karl Rove to this; appropriate being that Rove is Bush’s Rasputin. There are, however, no more elections to be won. Only peace and stability and that is something that can be influenced diplomatically, but never by declarations.

Lecturing the leader of a nation like Russia is never a good idea, even in private. Doing so publicly is asking for trouble.

And I think it’s self evident that President Bush has already bitten off enough for other people to chew.

Great article Mike!!!


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