Voices from Russia

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Prime Minister Putin: US Failure to Restrain Georgia Harmed Russian-American Relations

Filed under: diplomacy,international organisations,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- )

Prime Minister Putin blasted the United States on Thursday for its inability to keep Georgia from attacking South Ossetia, and said that this had damaged bilateral relations. “This [inability], of course, harmed our relations, first of all, intergovernmental [relations]”, Mr Putin told CNN in an interview. Tbilisi launched a military offensive against South Ossetia on 8 August, seeking to take control of the region. At least 64 Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of South Ossetian civilians died, with thousands more forced to flee the devastated republic.

Mr Putin said Russia hoped the United States would step into the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict and stop Georgia attacking South Ossetia. “We expected the US to intervene in the conflict and stop the aggressive actions of the Georgian leadership”, he told CNN. However, Mr Putin said, “The US administration not only failed to restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal action, but, the American side in fact trained and equipped the Georgian army”.

Seven of the world’s leading industrialised nations condemned Russia’s decision on Tuesday to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent, whilst calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Georgia. “We, the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, condemn the action of our fellow G8 member”, the group said in a joint statement. Meanwhile, Mr Putin said Russia had no intention of turning a blind eye to the killings of its citizens for the sake of membership of the G8.

Speaking on Russia’s relations with the West, Mr Putin said that Russia would not use energy to achieve its aims, as Russia also depended on the stability of its gas supplies. However, he dealt a blow to US poultry exporters, announcing that 19 US companies are now banned from exporting their products to Russia as they “failed health and safety tests”. He also added that 29 other companies were warned to “improve their standards or face the same ban”.

28 August 2008



Editor’s Note:

There is much less to the western “condemnation” than it seems at first glance. The only two reliable supporters of the USA in this are Canada and the UK, both countries of the Anglosphere. Italy is so wobbly that Cheney is going there next week in an attempt to strongarm its government (it shall probably backfire). Japan shall withdraw its protest if it gets some of the Kuriles (this is a typical diplomatic bargaining chip, nothing more). France has already asked for Russian support in its peacekeeping mission to Chad, and is getting it.

However, the weakest link in this chain is Germany. Frau Merkel leads a fragile coalition in the Bundestag. 46 percent of the seats are held by the CDU and its allies. 46 percent are held by the SPD and its allies. The balance of power (8 percent of the seats) is held by the Greens, who are NOT a right-wing party. In fact, the Greens were former coalition partners of the SPD, and history can repeat itself. Herr Schröder is waiting in the wings, and nothing would please him more than to bring down Frau Merkel. Do reflect on the fact that Herr Steinmeier, the Foreign Minister, is from the SPD, not the CDU. Interesting, nicht wahr? A very frail reed for Bush to hang a foreign policy on, isn’t it?

In short, the western “condemnation” was pure and bootless GIGO. It only brought the frailty of the western coalition into clear focus. I do daresay that Moscow has noticed it. If an insignificant person such as I am can see it…



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