George Bush, Asleep at the Switch
Two recent developments highlight the disturbing lack of leadership from the U.S. White House that is allowing the neo-Soviet Kremlin to achieve far more of its malignant goals than should be the case. President Bush is a asleep at the switch, and the sooner he vacates the Oval Office, the better.
First, writing for the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vladimir Socor reveals how Gazprom is being permitted to attack the sponsors of the Nabucco pipeline project, which is supposed to allow fossil fuels to flow out of Central Asia without depending on Russia, thus dramatically reducing Russia’s ability to blackmail Europe with threats to its energy supplies. The current target of attack is Romania, and the Bush administration is doing nothing to prevent it.
Then Farkhad Sharip, also writing for EDM (thus proving what an essential resource that publication really is), shows how Russia itself is moving aggressively into the Central Asian region as the result of the “intertia” caused by the Bush administration’s lack of leadership.
On a recent trip to Kazakhstan, U.S. Secretary of State Rice went out of her way to avoid appearing to threaten Russian “interests.” Sharip asks the obvious question:
But will the olive branch from Washington be heeded by the Kremlin? The standoff, in many ways reminiscent of the Soviet-era cold war, has gone too far to bring relations back to normal; and time is working for Moscow. While the West is restlessly seeking acceptable diplomatic language with Moscow, Russia is expanding its military and political presence in Central Asia. Nursultan Nazarbayev’s ostentatious justification of Russian military actions in South Ossetia and Georgia encouraged the Russian military to entangle Kazakhstan into questionable cooperation under the guise of fighting terrorism.
The Bush adminstration will be remembered for misleading the world on Vladimir Putin’s intentions from the first, with the confused Mr. Bush calling Putin “trustworthy” after “looking into his eyes” and “glimpsing his soul.” And it will be remembered for being unable to admit its error in that regard and for failing to correct its policy when the truth became obvious for all to see.