Sanity returns to US-Russia relations

Six months ago, the US confronted Russia over the much smaller state of Georgia in the South Ossetian War. The US Establishment was trying to present the war as an heroic "David vs Goliath" tale of the brave and noble Georgians standing up to their much bigger and stronger neighbor, Russia. The liberal blogger Juan Cole caught Fox News in a D'oh! moment when Fox interviewed "an Ossetian-American 12-year-old girl who thanks Russian troops for saving her from Georgian aggression." As Georgia had indeed started the war, the Fox News people frowned and sputtered and fumed, but couldn't come out and flatly contradict the girl.

The US had been supporting Georgia in the years before that to such an extent that the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili felt confident that if he attacked the ethnic Russian citizens of the Georgian province of South Ossetia, that the US would come to his rescue. Oops! The US promptly demonstrated that it was a paper tiger that was completely incapable of coming to the aid of an alleged ally.

Now it appears, the US has thought better of its earlier stance. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, didn't completely ignore Georgia, but said:

"We can and must find ways to work constructively with Russia where we share areas of common interest, including helping the people of Afghanistan," said Mrs Clinton.

The BBC adds:

US foreign policy is now very much a team game and US Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Brussels next Tuesday for a more detailed exchange of views on Afghanistan.

And that:

Mrs Clinton added that Nato "should continue to open Nato's door to European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and help them meet Nato standards".

So Georgia is not entirely kicked to the curb but it's quite clear that good relations with Russia have taken priority over the previous, untenable, relationship with Georgia. Cole suggests that helping Afghanistan while maintaining hostility towards Russia was simply not a realistic option.

A member of the local NorthWest Greens, Arn Specter, has been documenting relations between Russia and the US, looking at the relationship through the view that "neo-cons aim to achieve full military domination over the rest of the world" via building a Missile Defense system and just generally taking a very hostile view of pretty much everything that Russia does. Of course, it's possible that a major reason that the Obama Administration has been unenthusiastic about neo-con ideas is that Missile Defense is a complete turkey of a system. It does the job of funneling billions in taxpayer dollars to defense contractors, but never did and probably never will actually defend America.

So, brava to Mrs Clinton! Pursuing better relations with Russia is the practical and sane thing to do.

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