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Russian Government Efforts To Promote Mideast Peace Ignored By American Media

The American media has been running with the border security conflict news story between Georgia and Russia the last few days and unfortunately inspiring new Cold War tensions as a result. Perhaps even the slight surge of support for John McCain has been as a result of the media inspiring fear of Russia among the American public while ignoring the numerous ways in which Russia still actively continues to be a constructive world community member.

The American press seemed to totally ignore an important Mideast Black Sea resort peace effort by Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and Syrian President Assad that encouraged more direct talks between Israel and Palestinian leaders and encouraged waring Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas to unite and speak as a single voice for peace.

Instead of reporting important Mideast peace news such as this that the government of Russia is actively involved in, nearly all of the recent American media news about Russia has been dominated by a dangerous trend to completely vilify this state because of a border conflict they are having with the government of Georgia. And the Bush Administration only helped to stoke the flames by working with Poland to place antimissile missiles in Poland, which could fuel a new and dangerous arms race as an overreaction to the ongoing localized political and military feud between Georgia and Russia. John McCain also capitalized on the situation by calling for Russia to be kicked out of the G8.

The fact of the matter is that Russia hasn't recently stopped becoming a mostly constructive world community member in the last few days just because of their ongoing feud with the government of Georgia. If Bush and McCain were really the wise leaders on foreign policy that they really claim to be, then they would call for some peace talks between Russia and Georgia to peacefully resolve any differences and not blow the situation into an international arms race by placing any antimissiles in Poland aimed at Russia. A few Patriot missiles or 10 Interceptor missiles is hardly any defense against 5518 Russian nuclear warheads, but just enough to make Russia angry and create unnecessary new world tensions and allow the local Georgia conflict to cast a far larger shadow than it really should. The Georgia situation needs to be played down, not played up to dangerous heights.

The Georgia situation doesn't need to become the trigger point for a dangerous new arms race, but unfortunately Bush is allowing that, and John McCain is apparently reaping some political benefits from the Bush Administration's total mishandling of this localized feud between Russia and Georgia because the American public is mistaking this ineptness for strength.

It is a very good time for all tensions to pull back and prevent this situation from becoming like a runaway train where a dangerous new arms race or a military standoff between the United States and Russia results in some accidental war.


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Comments (9)

FMK:

"The American press seemed to totally ignore an important Mideast Black Sea resort peace effort by Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and Syrian President Assad..."

Would it be too much to ask for you to provide a link to this important Mideast peace effort that the American press ignored ?

ke_future:

good lord, paul. please tell me this is sarcasm you are writing here? please? you really that much in the tank for Russia are you?

FMK and Ke, certainly the Russian assault into Georgia was highly damaging to their world reputation, just as the American assault into Iraq was damaging to the U.S image abroad. However, after a week of Russia being characterized by this single event only by the American media and even by John McCain who shot off his mouth arguing that Russia should be kicked out of the G8, I looked to see what positive parts of Russian foreign policy still exist, and on VOICE OF RUSSIA, the official government mouthpiece of the Putin government, this government is still a mostly responsible world community player promoting Mideast peace and expressing concern over Taliban and Al Qaeda activity in Pakistan.

Being a permanent member of the UN Security Council you would certainly think that Russia could have appealed a case there for Georgian government violence to stop in South Ossetia rather than taking action on their own which proved highly damaging to Russia's world image. Even TIME or NEWSWEEK, I forget each one features a cigarette smoking Russian tank commander on the cover this week. Yet such an image does not represent the mostly peaceful and responsible behavior of Russia in worldwide business, etc. Recently Oregon Steel here in Portland was bought out by a Russian company, and I haven't seen any evidence of the company being turned into Soviet Army camp or something like the absurd press parody that is currently circulating.

The fact of the matter is that Russia is a mostly responsible member of the G8, despite what they did in Georgia, and keeping Russia on that responsible path rather than driving them into some sort of paranoid isolation is important. Semidemocracy is something new for Russia and they unfortunately will not always behave as well as you or I would like. Even China seems far better at conducting themselves better in business, etc. with less controversy. It just won't benefit the world community to draw too much into the Georgia incident, as bad as is, if it is just an isolated example, but if any pattern of such reckless use of military power continues, then the Western world needs to take a serious look at Russia. But I say, let's just keep this awful Georgia incident in perspective of the overall picture of Russia and not rush headlong into some Cold war with Russia over it. Much of the world community didn't like the U.s. invasion of Iraq, however only some Al Qaeda nuts and radicals rushed into Iraq to fight the Americans, most other countries held this single unpopular American foreign policy move in perspective of the overall good the U.S. does rather than characterize the U.S. simply as some international warmonger.

Richard Merchant:

Since when has the media reported good things? Specially when there is gunfire and blood?

How many other countries have had chats with the Mideast to help resolve the conflicts there? Did they get covered also?

If we just had a company buyout a company in another country does that give the US a pass on invasions or at least make everyone feel better about us?

Wasn't Russia selling arms to Iraq prior to our invasion? Aren't they selling them to Iran? Not sure they are so worried about tensions with us there. Why should we be so scared of dealing with Poland?

ke_future:

i'm sorry, paul. but russia does not, and has not been, contributing to the world as a responsible member of the international community. you are equating Iraq and Georgia. Those are 2 very different situations. In the nature of the national leadership prior to the invasions, what the causes were for those 2 invasions to occur, and the actions taken by the invading countries, the two situations are very different.

You are pulling out that old, leftest, cannard of moral equivalency. Problem is, there isn't one here. So you just go right on thinking that the US is as bad as Russia if you want, and I'll keep on thinking that you are naive.

Ke, the Russian military action in the two breakaway provinces in Georgia was very shortlived, only a few days, not like the years of American occupation in Iraq to remove one Saddam Hussein.

And the Russian Parliament has voted to endorse a political solution in the two breakaway provinces of Georgia for them to have their politically own autonomous governments and rule. But it is the Bush Administration who opposes any new political divisions for Georgia, self-determination or democracy.

I didn't like the Russian military violence in Georgia and the number of civilians who were killed in this violence. But Russia is at least supporting a diplomatic solution afterall which is a responsible step, but one in which the Bush Administration does not support.

I have serious problems with the Bush foreign policy in many areas, but cetainly not the U.S. foreign policy as usually practiced which is just and fair. Certainly Russian foreign policy leaves much to desired as well, but the country has only been a partly free nation since 1989 and does not have long held institutions of democracy in place, but Russian effords to make Hamas and Syria accept that Israel has a right to exist and that peace terms need to be sought are a responsible step. But it is also Israel which claims to want peace, yet sets up impossible barriers in talks as well. All sides need to be serious if they really seek peace or just more years of conflict since the 1948 establishment of Israel.

ke_future:

paul, of course Russia is supporting the break away regions. they worked hard at getting things to that point. i suggest you read this post by Totten for background info on just how "responsible" world actor Russia plays.

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/08/the-truth-about-1.php

you still have not provided any links to your claim that Russia is working to get Hamas and Syria to accept that Israel has a right to exist. If Russia really believed that, they wouldn't be selling all that military hardware to those two entities.

honestly, you sound like you work for the Russian ministry of propoganda. i would hope that you would be able to take off your anti-bush blinders long enough to see that there really are worse people and countries out there.

Ke, you'd be very surprised but conservative writer Pat Buchanan who has a great deal of foreign policy experience in Washington is closely echoing much of my concerns about the U.S. pushing this situation close to a dangerous new Cold War, instead of attempting to limit any international damage. Russia has no doubt suffered a great problem with public relations with this short invasion and pullback, however both the Bush Administration and the McCain are playing this up in a dangerous manner that only pokes at Russia and incites anger there that could result is serious international consequences. Like Pat Buchanan states in an important HUMAN EVENTS piece today, "Which NATO allies would fight along side us against a nuclear-armed Russia?" This is an important question as the U.S. seems to be looking for a fight with Russia to satisfy the political right in the U.S. that they are tough, but certainly not intelligent or clear thinkers on this issue.

The right path would be to let Russia that we don't agree with their assault into Georgia, but now we need a suitable political solution and a return to normal relations and world stability.

I strongly suggest that you read Pat Buchanan's excellent piece of this situation today on the HUMAN EVENTS website and see where this thing is headed unless the U.S. and Russia work towards a political solution and restoring order and rebuilding relations. I can tell you this as a fact, it isn't worth risking a nuclear war with Russia and rampant destruction of much of the U.S. to make some point in which our allies in Georgia were in the wrong and the aggressors who provoked a military answer by the Russians.

Some conservatives like a Pat Buchanan have such a fine grasp of history and foreign policy that his views I often tend to agree with. I can tell you that a president of either political party would be extremely wise to consult with Mr. Buchanan on foreign policy matters or even to place him in their cabinet before they do crazy things from which there is no easy return. Russia could probably use a Pat Buchanan or two advising their government on wise foreign policy as well.

I certainly like your thoughtful comments, Ke, but you're way too quick to view me as being soft on Russia here, when I'm merely taking a realistic view of this situation and unhappy at the dangerous way in which this is being played up in a Cold War manner by the U.S. government and John McCain in an election season. This situation can and should peacefully resolve itself if the U.S. will stop stoking the fires of Cold Warism and see what sort of political solutions the Russians are willing to put forth first and restore the Georgia region and two breakaway provinces to normality and calm.

ke_future:

okay, i read buchanen's article. i'm not surprised by it's tone. he's always been somewhat isolationalist. having a great deal of experience in forign policy (which i'm not sure you can really say Pat has) does not mean that you are correct.

in my opinion, he is as wrong as you are on this issue. full disclosure: i have no, zero, zip experience with foreign policy. it's not experience that matters always, it's the arguements and logic used. and i find pat's and yours onconvincing.

pat's making the same mistake you are in blaming georgia for provoking russia. that's not what happened there. if i truely thought that it was georgia's fuault, i wouldn't be so against what russia did.

i can appreciate that you want to take what you consider a "realistic" view on this situation and not antagonize russia. but what about russia antagonizing us?

don't forget that georgia has been a US ally in the war on terror. russia had to know that. i would say the onus is on russia to not be provacative, not on us. otherwise, you're view point is no different than chamberlain's towards hitler, and we all saw where that led.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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