Look, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know squat about Russia or Eastern Europe. I don’t even know if Georgia is in Eastern Europe or Western Asia! (I DO KNOW that we’re NOT talking about the home of the Atlanta Falcons… really.) But it looks to me like Russia is once again an emerging threat to the stability of Europe and, consequently, the United States. And I know who I blame.
George Bush squandered the prestige and moral authority of the United States — not to mention our military and treasury — on his useless escapade in Iraq. It seems to me that had he not done so, the United States would be in a much stronger position to oppose the Russian response in Georgia. But what can one say, at least with a straight face, about one nation attacking another when you’ve done the same thing, and on trumped up evidence? You can make a moral objection, but would you honestly expect anyone to take you seriously?
Mr. Bush, in Beijing for the Olympics, strongly criticized the Russian attacks, especially those outside South Ossetia, and urged an immediate cease-fire. In an interview on NBC on Monday morning, he said he had been “very firm” with both Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, and its president, Dmitri Medvedev. (From the NYTimes story linked to above.)
Ooo. I bet Putin and Medvedev were shaking in their fur-lined boots!
Remember that Bush and Putin were buddies after their meeting during Bush’s first year in office. A reporter asked Bush, “Did President Putin ease your concern at all about the spread of nuclear technologies by Russia, and is this a man that Americans can trust?” To which, Bush answered:
I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue.
There was no kind of diplomatic chit-chat, trying to throw each other off balance. There was a straightforward dialogue. And that’s the beginning of a very constructive relationship. I wouldn’t have invited him to my ranch if I didn’t trust him. (Laughter.)
Do I really need to comment on that?