Global Politics

Russia and U.S. tensions rise

For three weeks now, Russia has been pointing fingers at the U.S., insinuating that Washington emboldened Georgia to start the conflict there. Now the finger pointing has become more direct, and Putin said he suspects the U.S. got involved for domestic political reasons. Putin said U.S. citizens had been in Georgia during the fighting and were trying to aggravate the fighting to help one of the presidential candidates. A White House spokesperson called Putin's claim irrational and this analyst says he was astounded by Putin's words. But was Putin's statement surprising? This analyst doesn't think so, and he says it's not unexpected that Putin would throw more logs on the fire. He says Clinton and the first Bush administrations went to pain not to rub Russia the wrong way, but this Bush administration has been different and for many reasons it has raised Russia's ire, which means Russians have concluded that they had no influence over the West and felt they had been slapped. Now Russia has won this issue in Georgia, but the question is will Russia try and win another? This analyst fears exactly that. The biggest prize for Russia would be recovering the Black Sea port in Ukraine, an area which is ethnically Russian, and Russia and Putin know the West is running out of cards. The West has threatened to kick Russia out of organizations like the G8, but Putin says he doesn't care, and the U.S. needs Russian cooperation on a number of issues. All this leaves Moscow feeling pretty emboldened.

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