Thursday, July 19, 2007

Putin Baits the West

Bass fishing diplomacy has it limits.... actually, our relationship with Russia is much worse after The Decider's yukking-it-up press conference early this month with Russia's President Putin after their Kennebunkport fishing summit to resolve U.S. anti-missile plans for Russia's backyard.

Putin made a show of cooperating with the defense system, offering to place it on Russian soil if Bush abandoned plans for facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

When Bush didn't go along with Putin's plan, on Saturday Putin announced that Russia would pull out of the CFE treaty, a landmark pact limiting post-Cold War military strength. "Russia rebuffs NATO talks offer on arms pact." (WaPo)

A hopefully sobered Bush, pushing ahead with his anti-missile plans, met with the Polish President Kaczynski at the White House on Monday.

Great Britain also has serious disagreements with Russia who is refusing to cooperate on a terrorist incident.... just days after London kicked four Russians out of the country, a retaliating "Russia Expels 4 British Diplomats" (WaPo)

Moscow continues to refuse to extradite the Russian former KGB officer, Andrei Lugovoy, who the British accuse of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko.... a fierce critic of Putin.... in London last November using polonium-210.

The case is particularly charged because Litvinenko, who fled from Russia to Britain in 2000 and became a British citizen, suffered a slow and gruesome death. In addition, hundreds of Londoners feared they were exposed when the radioactive substance was found in numerous places causing alarm and panic in the city last November.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week that he could not tolerate "lawlessness" in London and would make "no apologies for the action we have taken."

Hear! Hear! Good show, Brown!

Bush should take note of how grownups deal with an increasingly dangerous Putin.... drop the Bush frat boy buddy-buddy approach.... Putin isn't looking for friends.

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