The US President has also decided to do his bit to criticize Russia. On the eve of Victory Day George Bush gave an interview with the German publication Bild, in which he effectively repeated the comments made by Vice-President Dick Cheney. Although not in such a scathing way.
“Russia is a changing country. When my father used to talk about it, he would talk about it as an enemy. Today’s Russia is not our adversary, changes are taking place there. However signals are emanating from there which make us seriously question whether Russia will continue to build democracy or not,” said Bush.
According to the American president, he has friendly relations with Vladimir Putin, however “economic nationalism” is arousing concern in the USA. “We are becoming concerned with the ‘economic nationalism’ when oil and gas companies are used to achieve political goals,” said the White House chief.
At the same time Bush declared the need to continue working alongside Russia and remarked that both countries are fighting terrorism together.
In the opinion of many observers, the last week has been significant for Russian-American relations. On the one hand the US Vice-President and Secretary of State spoke out quite scathingly against Russia. In reply Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speculated that Dick Cheney had been misinformed by his advisers. Otherwise the vice-president would not have referred to Russian energy policy regarding its closest neighbours as “pressure”.
There can be no doubt that declarations made by Tbilisi and Kyiv about a possible withdrawal from the CIS were agreed upon with Washington. As a kind of painfully significant coincidence, Condoleezza Rice called for Russia to accept American interests in the post-Soviet sphere and Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili undertook yet another escapade, ordering his government to look into the question of withdrawing from the Commonwealth… And then in the Ukrainian capital they recalled their intention to go down the same path.
However, the “cold shower” which Washington officials inflicted on Moscow was customarily accompanied by assurances that, just as before, the USA regards Russia as an important partner and ally in the fight against terrorism.
Assurances are assurances, but there is no reason to believe that, before the “Big Eight” summit in St. Petersburg, the torrent of scathing announcements by officials and the press directed at Russia will abate. And this has fundamentally nothing to do with Russia. The problem lies in the policies of the American administration which for the last few years has not been able to boast about any significant successes. Iraq, Iran, Palestine, North Korea, barely healed relations with some European countries (but this is not the case for France). And then we have Russia with its “economic nationalism” and “deviation from democracy”… Admittedly, the more Washington expresses its “concern”, the higher the probability that Russia will stop paying any attention to them. Generally, that is how things normally pan out…
Oleg Artyukov for Pravda.Ru
Translated by James Platt