Despite Bush's Taunts, Putin Outmaneuvers Him On Star Wars Today
How can the administration claim it wants to soothe things and convince the Russians of our good intentions here when Bush’s latest language makes fun of Putin?
President Bush said he hoped to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that their dispute over a U.S. missile defense system is not an issue either side should “be hyperventilating about.”
Yeah, that tone should work. What Bush actually said managed to denigrate Russia’s military capability and ridicule Putin’s concerns at the same time:
"Russia is not a threat. They're not a military threat. They're not something that we ought to be hyperventilating about."
This capsulizes the whole problem with this administration even after seven years on the job. There were any number of ways for Bush to say something constructive publicly that took into account Putin’s concerns while telling the media that allies will deal with this out of the glare of the cameras. Yet Bush has no ability to conduct the delicate art of quiet negotiation, nor do he and Cheney care to. They would rather demonize or make fun of foreign leaders to humiliate them and bludgeon them into submission, because they are used to dealing with their political opponents here at home in the same manner. Because the administration has poor intelligence, no ability to develop solid relationships with allies, and dismisses even its allies as inconveniences, it gets outmaneuvered and surprised way too often.
Putin did it just a half hour ago when he caught Bush off guard and suggested an alternate Star Wars site in Azerbaijan, even closer to China, Iran, and North Korea that causes no problems for the Russians. Putin offered to work jointly with the United States on the system, and suggested the system could cover all of Europe instead of only a portion of it. He adroitly outflanked the overmatched Bush and went him one better. The White House was surprised by the proposal, which is the problem here.
Why in the hell didn't the grossly-overrated Stephen Hadley or anyone in the administration see that one coming before today?
At a time when Condi is at least trying use her woefully-inadequate skill set to deal with the Iranians and Syrians, Cheney is undercutting her with covert regime change schemes that are obvious to all in the region. Condi was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with North Korea, thanks in no small part to pressure from China and Seoul, in a deal that could have been had years ago without the loose nukes that Pyongyang has spread around the globe since thanks to Cheney.
And now Cheney presses ahead to get Star Wars installed before he leaves office to deal with an alleged Iranian missile threat against the west, when in fact we should be dealing with the Iranians face-to-face to get the IAEA fully inside the country, and Putin as an energy alternative to the Persian Gulf before China locks up all his capacity. Instead, Bush gets hit with a 2x4 today by Putin because Cheney and Rice have no clue what is going on in the world.