Putin humiliated next to Bush “It could be that he kept his cool Thursday because he couldn’t quite believe what was happening to him.”
Robin Shepherd, Washington Times:
“It all happened following the end of bilateral talks when a televised press conference turned into a relentless and devastating assault on Putin’s backsliding on democratic reform.
Since global democratization has been made the centerpiece of Bush’s second term foreign policy agenda, analysts and politicians in the United States and elsewhere had billed this meeting as the first key test of the American president’s credibility.
As Russia analysts James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul had put it in a commentary in the current issue of the Weekly Standard: ‘If the president neglects to affirm his commitment to freedom with Putin at his side, Bush will be signaling that his words don’t count.’
So most of us were expecting the issue to be raised, if only in passing.
But no one could have been prepared for what was about to unfold.
While observing diplomatic niceties, President Bush’s opening remarks included a pointedly blunt statement of his concern that Russia was not fulfilling “fundamental” democratic principles.
And this was nothing to what President Putin was forced to endure in the subsequent questions, every single one of which focused on democracy.
Continue reading “Let’s pick a fight with Russia”