Just Another Guy with Opinions

US vs Russia

Posted by shadmia on February 13, 2007


Recently it seems as if the US and Russia are not only drifting apart on the international scene but have also begun to take jabs at one another directly. The latest round of “less than friendly” comments was started by the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who while testifying at a Congressional Hearing, suggested that Russia and some other countries were unreliable:

“We don’t know what’s going to develop in places like Russia and China, in North Korea, in Iran and elsewhere.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry has asked the US to explain this and other negative remarks made against them recently by the US military and intelligence community. They especially resent being lumped together with North Korea and Iran both of whom President Bush has identified as part of his “axis of evil”.

“It is hard to avoid the impression that all these statements are part of a certain system of negative evaluations of our country. The question is how much this reflects real U.S. policy,” the ministry said.

The Russians did not wait on a response from the US, but instead launched a scathing attack on the US and its foreign policy. At the annual Munich Security Conference, the Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted US foreign policy saying it was a major cause of instability in the world and the impetus for other nations to seek nuclear weapons.

“Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem, they have become a hotbed of further conflicts,” Putin said at a security forum attracting senior officials from around the world.“One state, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.”

Putin said it was “the almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations” that was forcing countries opposed to Washington to seek to build up nuclear arsenals.“It is a world of one master, one sovereign … it has nothing to do with democracy,” he said. “This is nourishing the wish of countries to get nuclear weapons.”

“This is very dangerous, nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law,” Putin told the gathering.

The Bush Administration has moved to calm fears of tension between the two countries. Defense Secretary Robert Gates responded to Putin’s speech by reaffirming the U.S. commitment to multilateralism.

“We all face many common problems and challenges that must be addressed in partnership with other countries, including Russia,” he said. International terrorists’ ability to mix new technologies and old hatreds is a threat to the global community, he said. No fewer than 18 terrorist organizations, many linked to al-Qaida, have launched attacks against innocents all over the world – including in Russia, partner in endeavors,” Gates said.

The White House Spokesman Tony Snow called Russia “an important ally,”

Snow told reporters February 12 that the United States remains committed to working with Russia and other partners to tackle a host of transnational security challenges, including terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

“We certainly disagree with the characterization of the United States acting unilaterally,” Snow told reporters February 12. “The fact is that the United States has been working aggressively, including with Russia, to work in a multilateral fashion on a series of key issues.”

Snow said that the United States and Russia are diplomatic partners in several multilateral initiatives, such as the “P5-plus-one” group, in which they join China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom in seeking to convince Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons.

Another example of U.S. multilateralism, he said is the ongoing Six-Party Talks, where the United States and Russia have joined delegations from China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea to implement the September 18, 2005, agreement to remove nuclear programs from the Korean Peninsula.

“Obviously President Putin has his comments, but if you take a look at the ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, it continues,” Snow said.

President Bush, he added, has “regular and quite frank conversations with President Putin. They understand each other and will continue working together.”

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