Bush: With friends like these…
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.
As 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.”