Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Slapping Putin’s Back

Reuters reports that when President Bush meets Vladimir Putin this Sunday, the United States and Russia will sign what an unidentified Kremlin source describes as “a joint document which will become a road map of our cooperation during a transitional period and for the medium term.” Yesterday, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the document, said this: “Of course we have to register all the achievements during the two terms of presidents Bush and Putin.”

It’s good that the two countries want to accentuate the positive, but the upcoming summit between the friendly leaders runs the risk of irrelevance. As Jim Hoagland wrote on Friday, Bush and Putin wish to end their relationship as presidents “in the soft glow of mutual legacy-burnishing . . . They will leave relations between the White House and the Kremlin mired in a rare soggy middle ground of extended ambivalence.”

I hope Hoagland’s wrong: there’s no lack of substantive issues to tackle. There are, for instance, NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, America’s planned missile defense system for Europe, Russia’s adherence to the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, the extension of START, recognition of Kosovo’s independence, the Kremlin’s support for the Iranian nuclear program, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and Moscow’s supply of advanced weaponry to China.

Bush, as we all know, leaves office soon. Back-slapping with the Russian autocrat in his seaside dacha seems like a particularly bad use of time, especially at this crucial moment.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.