November 22, 2004


Bush hijacks summit with 'end nuclear plans' call (Tom Hennigan, 11/22/04, Times of London)

ON HIS first foreign trip since his re-election, President Bush started to spend what he calls his “new capital” by demanding that North Korea and Iran halt their nuclear arms programmes.

Mr Bush made his call at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, held in Chile over the weekend.

It came after talks with key Asian partners designed to force North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. Mr Bush pressed for a tougher line on the isolated communist state.

The President’s focus on the two remaining members of the “axis of evil” overshadowed all other items at the summit, ostensibly an annual meeting aimed at expanding trade between Pacific Rim countries. [...]

There were reports of tension between Mr Bush and President Putin of Russia over lunch on Saturday. Mr Bush reportedly raised his concerns over Mr Putin’s commitment to democracy after recent moves to strengthen the Kremlin’s control over Russia’s political system.

That's just Bush-style multilateralism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2004 8:26 AM

Bush should refrain from ticking off Putin who is a necessary ally in the WOT. Russia is worth lots more than the entire Coalition of the Willing and Old Europe combined.

We have one issue of contention and that is Russian arms proliferation. Let's let Putin do what he has to do elsewhere to bring order out of chaos and encourage him to not sell stuff to Iran. More carrots and less sticks. And stop the lecturing.

Putin has real problems to deal with back on the home front and the too rapid transition to a very sloppy democracy and crony capitalism only made things worse. Our imbecilic insistence on rights for the thugs of Chechnya is another place where we should just shut up and let Putin be Putin.

Putin is no different from Pinochet and we blew things up in Chile by not supporting the General. Let's not make the same mistake in a country with a nuclear arsenal.

Posted by: Bart at November 22, 2004 11:40 AM

They're only worthwhile because they'll gladly use their nukes if the whole thing hits the fan. Don't need to be friendly with them for that.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 11:53 AM

Better to have Russia voluntarily choose to do the right thing that to browbeat them into it. If we can enable them to see our fight in Iraq and Afghanistan as part and parcel of their fight in Chechnya, Dagestan, and other Muslim regions of Russia, it will make that cooperation that much easier.

If you don't see the economic advantages to close ties with Russia, then you should refrain from commmenting on economic matters in the future. It is a geological treasure trove and Americans can make ridiculous amounts of money if the Russian economy would just let us in to do it. Siberia is a land of oppotunity dwarfing the Old West in its heyday.

Posted by: Bart at November 22, 2004 12:13 PM

Who cares if they co-operate? They need us. We don't need them.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 12:26 PM

We don't need Russia to stop selling arms to Iran? We don't need Russia to support us at the UN? We don't need Russia to put pressure on North Korea to cooperate in a new weapons inspection regime? It doesn't matter if Putin feels compelled to join the Axis of Stupid, along with France, Spain and Germany?

I disagree strenuously.

Posted by: Bart at November 22, 2004 12:50 PM

No. Russia has more to fear from Iran and North Korea than we do and the UN is insignificant.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 2:24 PM