Global Politics

US-Russian relations

FS considers the conflict to be more between Russia and the West: and the issues are NATO and security, democracy, and oil and gas, and the Kosovo affair in Europe. These are all reasons why Russia wants to stick a thumb in the eye of the West and chose a good time to do it. (All of these issues have been around for a long time, so why did they act now?) Russia has planned this attack for a long time, and there's evidence that this was in the card. Russia has tried earlier to provoke Georgia, they were hell bent on doing this. (What is the statement Russia making to the U.S.?) Do not promote democracy around the world, we'll stop you when necessary. Do not try to draw countries into Western security affairs. Do not think you can get oil and gas out of the Caspian without our permission, we can stop that whenever we want to do. Do not treat us cavalierly about Kosovo at the U.N. (What does entering a country like Georgia do then for Russia?) The people in control at the moment are acting in a primitive and brutal manner, and are convinced that the West is too flaccid, passive and comfortable to do anything and this is a way to teach them a lesson. This is a post-colonial act comparable to France beating up on Algeria, and any historical similarity like this always failed, just as this will. (How so?) Once the West focuses, it'll understand there are a lot of steps it can take. The first thing is massive help for the Georgian economy. Second the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Russia is a member, must understand Russia is no longer a mediator. (How should the next President of the U.S. think about how it should deal with Russia?) Do not approach it in a binary fashion. There will be areas for cooperation, and areas for conflict, and we should be candid with all of them.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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