Bush: With friends like these…

August 18, 2008

President Bush and Prime Minister Putin in Beijing/Aug 8/Larry DowningHe tried to build relationships with other world leaders but where did it get him?

In 2001 President George W. Bush famously declared that he had looked into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eyes and got a sense of his soul. He invited the Russian leader to his parents’ seaside estate
in Kennebunkport, Maine, where the former Texas oilman and ex-KGB spy went fishing and ate lobster. Bush then visited the Russian leader at his vacation villa in the Black Sea resort in Sochi, all to repair a friendship that had developed cracks.

In another land far, far away Bush was trying to build ties with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf who decided after the Sept. 11 attacks that he was going to be “with,” rather than “against,” the United States in helping fight terrorism. Bush traveled to Islamabad and stood side-by-side with the Pakistani leader, who had taken control of the government through a coup years ago, and pledged U.S. support for the ally who was helping fight al Qaeda.

File photo of President Bush and President MusharrafAs Bush prepares to leave office in January, those friendships have taken a turn. Musharraf just resigned rather than face impeachment. Russia, now with Putin as prime minister and his protege as president, has sent forces into Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally in the region.

Asked whether he trusted Putin any more, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates replied: “Any more is an interesting add. I have never believed that one should make national security policy on the basis of trust. I think you make national security policy based on interests and on realities.”

5 comments

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Bush doesn’t deserve to be a friend of Putin. Unlike Bush, he is smart and knows what he is doing.

Posted by MRT | Report as abusive

Republic of Georgia is, of course, one of the most corrupt governments on the planet, and they pander to George W. Bush. What does that tell you? Here’s an interesting look at things there:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuiNDhc3u a8

This sort of shows Bush for the hypocrite that he is, condoning and supporting a government (Republic of Georgia) which has engaged in murderous “ethnic cleansing” military operations of people opposed to the corrupt government. When the killing was directed at Russian peacekeepers who were there, Russia said “Enough!”

Posted by Professor M. | Report as abusive

Georgia isn’t a “staunch” US ally in the view of the American public, although perhaps it is in the eyes of the Bush administration and the corrupt Congress. As Russia’s leaders have understood, the US public will never support Georgia’s ferocious attack on South Ossetia civilians after Georgia publicly promised a cease-fire. If anything Georgia should be referred to as a “minor” US ally.

In fact I would guess most Americans would view Armenia as a closer US ally than Georgia since there is a vocal Armenia-American population Whereas Georgia became part of the Russian empire in 1800, Armenia wasn’t fully part of Russia until the Bolsheviks invaded in 1922. Also Armenia’s allegations of a Turkish genocide during World War I have played well in the US.

Thus Armenia also seems a much better location than Georgia to route new pipelines from Azerbaijan, perhaps connecting them to pipelines in Turkey. That would also give Armenia an opportunity to kick out the Russian military, which the US and the EU would likely view as very appropriate after Russia’s recent military occupation in parts of Georgia.

Posted by Chris Baker (US) | Report as abusive

Georgia and Russia need to come into the 20th century and understand that we cannot behave like a pack of savages where life and limb are a minor consideration.

I think both countries should be threatened with sanctions, including Russia possibly ejected from the G8, etc., and pressed to adopt real democratic laws and a full human rights charter that effectively stops abuse.

We have to stop behaving like brutal warlords and more like 21st century world class countries that enshrine human rights and tackle corruption in order to eradicate corruption from the mafia-infested corridors of the Kremlin.

Russia is now a state fit for crooks and murderers and has absolutely no intention of fully embracing the modern form of civilisation.

I think Russia and Georgia will gradually succumb to the demands of the free nations: if not they will not flourish and their people will rebel in time. Especially when the enormous weight of wealth is only reaching Russian fat cats whilst the majority of people suffer from poverty and even hunger.

Being held to account and committed to trial for crimes against humanity is a possibility for leaders who turn out to be bloodthirsty megalamaniacs with no idea about morality and democratic government.

Putin has placed a mafia stranglehold on Moscow and his dreams of a resurgent Russian empire not only render his judgement cockeyed, but also diminishes the world view of him.

He can repent but somehow I do not think he has the strength of character to achieve this seachange in his personal and political life.

A born again Putin is preferable to a Putin who has lost his reason, his moral footing and his abilty to see what others actually see as evidence of personal instabilty.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

Correction: I meant ’21st century’ in th first para.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive