Condi on Pooty

What do you see when you look into HER eyes, Mr. Putin?

What do you see when you look into HER eyes, Mr. Putin?

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, writing on the Polish website Gazeta:

For much of the past month, the world’s focus has turned to Russia. We took up the urgent, initial challenge of supporting Georgia after the Russian attack – a challenge that Poland was instrumental in meeting. The main question going forward – which I addressed at length in a speech last Thursday – is, what do the events of the past month mean for Russia’s relationship with the world, especially the United States and Europe?

The circumstances surrounding last month’s conflict are well-known. Mistakes were made on both sides, but the response of Russia’s leaders – invading a sovereign state across an internationally-recognized border, and then seeking to dismember it by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia – was disproportionate. And the responsibility for this behavior lies not with Russia’s neighbors, not with NATO enlargement, and not with the United States, but with Russia’s leaders.

Perhaps more disturbing, though, is that Russia’s attack fits into a worsening pattern of behavior over several years – among other things, its use of oil and gas as tools of coercion, its threat to target peaceful nations like Poland with nuclear weapons, and its curtailment of law and liberty at home. The emerging picture is an increasingly authoritarian and aggressive Russia.

The attack on Georgia has brought us to a critical moment – but not a deterministic one. Russia’s leaders are making some unfortunate choices. But they can make different ones. Russia’s future is in Russia’s hands. But its choices will be shaped, in part, by the actions of others – especially the United States and our European allies.

Russia’s invasion of Georgia has achieved – and will achieve – no enduring strategic objective. And our strategic goal now is to make it clear to Russia’s leaders that their choices are putting Russia on a one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance.

Accomplishing this goal will require the resolve and the unity of the United States and Europe. We cannot afford to validate the prejudices that some Russian leaders seem to have: that if you pressure free nations – if you bully, threaten, and lash out – we will cave in and eventually concede. The United States and Europe must stand up to this kind of behavior, and not allow Russia’s aggression to achieve any benefit.

We and our European allies are therefore acting as one in supporting Georgia. We are leading the world’s effort to help Georgia rebuild. The door to a Euro-Atlantic future remains wide open to Georgia, and our alliance will continue to work to make that future a reality.

At the same time, the United States and Europe are supporting – unequivocally – the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbors. And we will not allow Russia to wield a veto over the future of our Euro-Atlantic community – neither what states we offer membership, nor the choice of those states to accept it. We have made this particularly clear to our friends in Ukraine.

The United States and Europe are deepening our cooperation in pursuit of greater energy independence. We will expand and defend an open global energy economy from abusive practices. There cannot be one set of rules for Russia, Inc. and another for everyone else.

Finally, the United States and Europe will not allow Russia’s leaders to have it both ways – drawing benefits from international norms, markets, and institutions, while challenging their very foundations. There is no third way. A 19th century Russia and a 21st century Russia cannot operate in the world side by side. To reach its full potential, Russia needs to be fully integrated into the international political and economic order. But Russia is in the precarious position of being half in and half out. Russia depends on the world for its success, and it cannot change that.

Already, Russia’s leaders are seeing a glimpse of what the future might look like if they persist with their aggressive behavior. In contrast to Georgia’s position, Russia’s international standing is worse now than at any time since 1991. Russia’s civil nuclear cooperation with the United States is not going anywhere now. Russia’s leaders are imposing pain on their nation’s economy. Their bid to join the World Trade Organization is now in jeopardy. So too is their bid to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But perhaps the worst fallout of all for Moscow is that its behavior has fundamentally called into question whose vision of Russia’s future is really guiding the country. There was a time recently when the new president of Russia laid out a positive and forward-looking vision of his nation’s future. This vision took account of Russia’s vulnerabilities, called for greater reform at home, and most importantly, recognized that Russia cannot afford a relationship with the world that is based on antagonism and alienation.

By necessity, the United States and Europe will continue to pursue our shared interests with Russia – including fighting terrorism, stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, shaping a secure Middle East where there is peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and preventing the Security Council from reverting to the gridlocked institution it was during the Cold War. But it would be a real shame if our relationship with Russia never rose above the level of interests – for the best relationships are those among states that also share goals, aspirations, and values.

Whether Russia’s leaders overcome their nostalgia for another time, and reconcile themselves to the sources of power and the exercise of power in the 21st century, still remains to be seen. The decision is Russia’s, and Russia’s alone. And we hope that Russia’s leaders choose responsibly – for the sake of their people and the sake of the world.

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9 responses to “Condi on Pooty

  1. Now here is a person who should be running for President of the United States.

    P.S. I also want to know her secret for such youthful skin.

  2. She has three masters degrees, and speaks five languages, as of four years ago. I only wish she would have run for president.

    She has more foreign policy experienc than anyone that is still breathing. She is my president. Condi 2012.

  3. As with all great leaders, she needs to be convinced. If I ever have a chance to talk to her, I will do my best.

  4. Rice as a afro-american woman president is most politically correct candidate one would imagine. However, is she really up to pull the President job? I really hope that Obama&Biden will be elected and effectively deal with dramatic economical and globalization challenges. World is changing, mrs. Rice countdown is running off.

  5. Tower Bolshevik

    “What do you see when you look into HER eyes, Mr. Putin?”

    I’m sure Putin tries not to laugh.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Your comment is hiliariously ignorant. Putin is a racist and a sexist, and doesn’t find it the least bit funny that a black woman is in charge of American diplomacy. Moreover, he has reordered Russia’s entire national budget to address the “threat” he believes Rice poses to Russia.

    Try to think a little before you post. You’ll be embarrassed (a little) less often.

  6. Tower Bolshevik

    Embarrassed of what? Perhaps I didn’t make it clear. U.S politicians for me are objects of ridicule. Putin maybe all what you say, but at least he is intelligent. What I’m sure Putin would find funny is a dumb U.S politician and Aunt Jemimah trying to intimidate him.

  7. I agree with you about the politicians, however Rice is in an appointed position. Good appointees are selected not because of nepotism, but their qualifications.

    She may not look like much, but she is smarter than Putin, and has the entire weight of the US military behind her. Just because she is not beligerent does not mean she can’t recognize a threat.

  8. Tower Bolshevik, your last comment shows you to be a rasicts fool. And no Putin is not intelligent, he is just a smart ass thug!

  9. I would just like to add, Putin is not wise.

    Wisdom is the accumulation of knowledge rather than age.

    I stole that from somebody, but only wish I knew who.

    Putin has been protected from conflicting arguments, he is not capable of rational thought. If he walked away from the supposably bumbling bush, and the only thing that was said was “I looked into his eyes and…”. Russia is not in good hands.

    If Putin lost an argument to the “stupid, bumbling and fumbling George Bush”, wouldn’t that be all over the papers, here and there.

    If he can’t even hold up to Bush, he doesn’t even belong on the same field as Rice.

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