Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bush and Putin Tradeoffs

"He has tightened controls over the legislature and made it difficult for any political opponents to gain traction....and denied the judicial system real independence."

So who is this?

Did your guess President George Bush?

No, not Bush, this the New York Times on March 13 summing up the stranglehold President Vladimir Putin is exerting on Russia.

This summer in St. Petersburg Putin of will host the Group of 8, the world's most powerful democracies. Putin hopes to successfully join this elite group.

In a recent report, U. S. Council on Foreign Relations task force has suggested that the Bush administration rethink its partnership with Russia in the face of Putin's continuing and increasing exertion of government control. Some members of the council, though, argue that the United States should "cold-bloodedly" cooperate on important matters and consider "what goes on inside Russia to be Russia's business."

So does this "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" attitude on foreign policy apply to other countries too? Depends on who you are. Yes to China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. No to Iran and Korea.

Maybe Bush should direct his next state-of-the-world message to the freedom-suppressed Russian people....oops, the Putin administration has taken over the national television networks.

So, does Bush see how Putin is thwarting democracy and increasing government control in Russia? Like questionable elections, a vast new terrorism bureacy, diminution of civil rights.....oh, that's the United States under the Bush administration.

Anyway, Bush needs Putin's cooperation, especially on Iran. Does membership in the Group of 8 represent the trade-off?

March 12 to 18 is national Sunshine Week. This is an initiative by news media and watchdog groups to focus on the importance of open government. Our real chance for Sunshine in government is possible only if we break the Bush/GOP oligarchy starting this November. Vote!

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