Friday, August 15

Foreign Relations Running Hot and Cold

The problem with other countries is that they just don't do what we want them to do. Take Russia and Georgia. They have a beef with each other, they are ostensibly both our allies, and still they fight. What's a superpower to do?

As our lame duck president said, "The actions of Russia in recent days have damaged its credibility in the eyes of the free world. Bullying and intimidation are not the way to conduct foreign policy." I wonder if any country said that about our incursion into Iraq in March, 2002?

The Soviet bloc is no more, and supposedly the cold war is over. Yet, our relations with the Russians are tenuous at best between this festering sore and the U.S. agreement placing a missile defense system inside Poland--which the Russians are not so keen about. This only four months after President Bush and Prime Minister Putin met in Sochi, the Russian resort 15 miles from Georgia, and signed an “agreement” pledging cooperation on a variety of diplomatic and security matters and declaring that “the era in which the United States and Russia considered one another an enemy or strategic threat has ended.” Whoops!

Russia needs oil ports to sell its oil, Georgia has oil ports on the Black Sea (Georgia has been a key conduit of oil and gas from Central Asia to the West that bypasses Russia), we need oil, it seems pretty straight forward. Either encourage Georgia and Russia to play nice or work out an U.S. energy "plan b" that doesn't require playing referee with other countries whose are inextricably tied to fossil fuel.

But we should feel good because our president has his finger on the pulse of the situation. Bush said “got a lot of folks, smart folks, analyzing the situation on the ground and, of course, briefing us on different possibilities that could develop in the area and the region.” We'll hope they do better than in 2002.

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