A president tends to make categorical statements only when his truth is in doubt. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." "I am not a crook." "The state of the union is sound."
Thus, on Wednesday, at the G8 summit, when President George W. Bush said, "Russia is not an enemy," he did so, clearly, because many people are wondering if maybe it is.
The fusillades of harsh rhetoric fired back and forth between Moscow and Washington are casting dark shadows. Vladimir Putin likens the United States to Nazi Germany, tests a new intercontinental ballistic missile, and threatens to resume aiming nuclear weapons at Western Europe. Bush and Condoleezza Rice accuse Putin of abandoning Russian democracy--a charge that happens to be undeniably true.
The short answer is no. The days of the cold war are over, but that does not equate into saying that they are our friend either. Russia has their own interests and their own sphere of influence. Bush certainly has made his feelings clear about what he thinks of Cuba and Venezuela, but he seems blind to the fact that Putin isn't happy about us setting up shop right on his doorstep. The US had a chance to become a true world leader after the fall of communism and we got off to a pretty good start with our leadership in the first Gulf War and then our policies under Bill Clinton. But this Bush has thrown all that away when he made the NeoCon agenda our national policy. There is no global hegemony for the United States and the moment George Bush started acting like there was, the reactions of other nations were predictable.
Russia is our rival, not our enemy. When we behave foolishly, it makes everyone else look better and Russia will be the main beneficiary.
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