View Full Version : Bush Takes New Stand With Putin

08-15-2008, 08:15 AM
Bush takes new stand with Putin


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON | President Bush is guiding U.S. relations with Russia in a decidedly confrontational direction, evoking memories of Cold War bitterness.

It’s a marked turnabout from the sense-of-his-soul epiphany the president had seven years ago when he declared that Vladimir Putin was a trustworthy partner on the global stage. Russia’s brutal invasion of the former Soviet republic of Georgia was the turning point.

From the beginning of his administration, Bush emphasized personal diplomacy with Putin, Russia’s leader then and, apparently, still, even though now he is prime minister rather than president.

But tensions emerged immediately, and only multiplied over the years.

The U.S. was alarmed by Putin-led democratic backsliding; a campaign against Yukos oil company’s leaders and other consolidation of wealth and power in the Kremlin; Moscow’s war in Chechnya; and evidence of manipulation of Russia’s vast energy resources to serve geopolitical aims.

Moscow, meanwhile, had growing suspicions of U.S. meddling in its backyard, and acrimony over the U.S.-led Iraq invasion sent relations plummeting too.