Putin-Bush Summit - more points in common than differences
The Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America stressed that there are more points in common than differences at a time when the international policy of Washington has put a strain on its relations with the international community.
Furthermore, unnecessary provocation by George W. Bush regarding internal affairs in the Russian Federation created a wholly avoidable climate of tension around this Summit, which was dispersed through the goodwill of both Heads of State.
Nevertheless, the Russian President was firm and resolute in refuting the veiled criticism leveled against Russia by the President of the USA. By "veiled criticism", read "concern".
While George Bush said that his "concern" was expressed in a "constructive and friendly way", the point is that he raised issues which underline Washington's arrogance and lack of tact over Russia's internal and external policies.
George Bush expressed his "concerns" over Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran (or did he say "nucular"?), he expressed his concerns over the freedom of the press in Russia (??), he expressed his concerns over Russia's treatment of "minorities" and he expressed his concern at the centralization of power in Russia.
Answering the points one by one, which is not difficult and which should occupy a minimum of space, Russia is helping Iran to develop a nuclear power programme, to generate electricity. While the word "nuclear" might be emotive, there is a difference between building a power station and making weapons-grade material. Russia has said many times that it does not support any programme through which Iran could obtain nuclear weapons.
Regarding the freedom of the press in Russia, what exactly is Bush talking about? The author of this article has written for Russian press outlets for many years and not once has any article been suppressed or indeed have I ever received any guidelines as to what I should say or not say. I go further, and George Bush had better listen to this: I even contacted the Kremlin asking for such guidelines and the answer was "we cannot give you guidelines. You must write what you want to write. It is your affair, not ours".
The point is that the press has to be responsible and accountable. It cannot give away secrets for terrorists to read, for example. Freedom of the Press in Russia is about responsibility, it is about curtailing the trend for millions of dollars to be passed around in exchange for state secrets. Surely, this is common knowledge? Surely someone in the US administration could have warned George Bush about what was really happening before he made an idiot of himself (yet again).
On the treatment of minorities, is the Russian Federation not constituted by hundreds of ethnic groups with equal rights? In the time of the Soviet Union, even more so. Or is George Bush referring to the 5% of Chechens who support the terrorist elements which commit atrocities such as Beslan and so on, many of whom take refuge in the Pankissi Gorge in Georgia, which Washington favours so strongly?
Finally, on the centralization of power, it is utterly incredible that George W. Bush raises this question. For a start, is Condoleezza Rice not supposed to be a Russian expert?
The sentence "centralization of power" in Russia is a clear demonstration that Washington, and indeed, the West in general, does not understand Russia. Although Washington would love to see Russia implode in a myriad of micro-nations, this is not going to happen, for one clear reason: Vladimir Putin is not Boris Yeltsin.
So for the following four years, George Bush is going to have to read articles such as this one, pulling his speech apart point by point and receiving broadsides from his interlocutors. Moscow has to centralize certain powers, otherwise opportunistic states such as the USA today, which acts as the worst kind of international vulture, a scavenger, will try to foster dissent and take advantage of Russia's resources.
If George W. Bush considers "liberty" as invading a sovereign nation based upon lies, committing an act of mass murder, slaughtering tens of thousands of civilians in the name of "freedom and democracy", winning "hearts and minds" through "shock and awe" tactics, it is evident that he is intellectually constrained to the table upon which he threw a record number of Texans. He is intellectually, diplomatically and legally moribund, he is limited to uttering Cold War Slogans and he has a retentive understanding of the dossiers.
Who is governing the USA? It certainly isn't George W. Bush. He doesn't even know what he is speaking about.
While we are speaking about freedom and democracy and so on, a couple of questions. Where are Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction? No, we cannot ask Dr. David Kelly, because he was the one who knew they didn't exist and committed suicide.
And how to justify the firing of CNN journalists criticizing the USA's act of mass murder in Iraq? Freedom and (BANG!!) Democracy (BANG!!) folks, winning hearts (BANG!!) and minds by (BANG!!) shock and (BANG!!) awe tactics.
Speaking about democracy, did George Bush's Washington use the processes of dialogue and discussion in the UNSC? Or did it launch a criminal act of mass murder against Iraq, against every norm in the book?
And this man dares to look Vladimir Putin in his eyes?
Certainly, Russia wants to have friendly relations with the USA just as it fosters good relations with all nations. But is this made easy by a Washington which talks and practises the law of the jungle while pretending to stand up for the rule of law?