Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cheney set the table, Putin sat down for dinner

If only the vice president had returned to Washington after giving the Vilnius speech (see earlier TWR commentary on this matter).

But he then traveled to Kazakhstan, a country whose system of managed pluralism/managed democracy/authoritarianism is more pronounced that Russia's. And the Vilnius principles were replaced by much more pragmatic concerns.

Putin had this to see in his State of the Federation speech today: "Where is all this pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests? Here, it seems, everything is allowed, there are no restrictions whatsoever."

Cheney can't help himself. He has to pursue the mirage of increasing U.S. influence in Central Asia. Never mind that the layout of Central Asia's Russia-centered transportation infrastructure, and the significant Chinese investments in transportation infrastructure into Central Asia, ensure Russia's and China's predominant influence there for decades to come. The U.S. is the Global Superpower you see, and "Dead-eye Dick" Cheney the most powerful figure in the Presidency of said Global Superpower. Thus, in the struggle for influence in Central Asia, vice-presidential verbiage must inevitably triumph over Russian and Chinese trade, troops, and investment.

And whoever says different is a supporter of Terrorism.
I think an important component in Putin's speech that needs to be discussed is the new strategic doctrine--Russia is not going to counterbalance the U.S. or compete weapons system for weapons system; instead, it is going to concentrate its efforts to develop capabilities that are designed to raise the cost for the U.S. to act.
The important part in Putin's speech is the section on families and demographics.

And its just like a US-freedom-of-action-in-foreign-policy-obsessed American to miss that.
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