Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Richardson: Setting Priorities

Governor Richardson expands on his concept of "new realism". In particular, he is willing to define priorities.

This is important because one of my longstanding complaints is our propensity to treat relationships with other major powers like Christmas trees, hanging all sorts of priorities and preferences without setting any sort of agenda. The governor has laid out a way for us to set priorities and then judge the effectiveness of our bilateral relationships:

"We must engage Russia and China strategically, and systematically. While it is easier to work with countries like India that share our democratic values, we also need to work with Russia and China to solve serious problems. We need to establish our priorities, and to work with these sometimes troublesome partners, recognizing that we can only influence, not control, what they do. With Russia, our first priorities should be securing loose nukes and putting pressure on Iran to halt nuclear enrichment. With China, our priorities should be North Korea, Darfur and trade."

Pretty clear. It doesn't meant that there won't be other irritants or issues, but it also puts forward an agenda and if implemented would send clear signals to Moscow and Beijing about what the U.S. under a Richardson Administration would expect.

The problem is whether or not things will get added. Someone might ask, where is Taiwan on the China list? Or energy on the Russia list? Then other things get piled on as well.

Be interesting to see if these lists of priorities grow in the coming months.
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