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Thread: Putin Comes To Maine Sunday To See Bush

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Putin Comes To Maine Sunday To See Bush

    Putin comes to Maine Sunday to see Bush

    By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 40 minutes ago

    KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine - The personal touch can be a pivotal item in the diplomatic toolbox. President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, time and again, have reached for just the thing to improve one of the world's most crucial partnerships.

    A grinning Putin once put Bush behind the wheel of his prized 1956 Volga at his dacha outside Moscow. Bush has brought Putin to the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland and made him the first head of state to visit his Texas ranch. At a lavish Red Square military parade in Moscow celebrating World War II's victory, Putin risked alienating other world leaders by grandly terming the American his guest of "special importance" above all the others.

    Now, for less than 24 hours starting Sunday afternoon, the U.S. president is hosting his Russian counterpart at the Bush family's summer home on the craggy Maine coast. No other leader has received such a rarified invitation.

    The Russian leader gets two presidents in one visit: Bush's dad, former President George H.W. Bush, owns the home and is playing low-key host to the meetings. Putin also will enjoy spectacular views, sparkling New England summertime weather, lobster at nearly every meal, and possibly a striper fishing excursion on the elder Bush's speedboat.

    "You only invite your friends into your house," Bush said in November 2001, when Putin came to Crawford, Texas.

    But six years of gestures, from the extravagant to the odd, have not masked the problems that increasingly dog U.S.-Russian relations.

    "The gulf separating the government of Russia's official discourse and the United States' concept of what the relationship should be has gotten wider than it has been in a long, long time," said Stephen Sestanovich, an ambassador to former Soviet republics under President Clinton who now is at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    For decades, relations between Washington and Moscow have been particularly defined by the personal chemistry between the people at the top, said Sarah Mendelson, Russia policy expert and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Think Reagan and Gorbachev or Clinton and Yeltsin.

    The relationship between Bush and Putin started with a bang in June 2001 with the president's now-infamous assessment of Putin.

    "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy," Bush said after that first meeting, in Slovenia. "I was able to get a sense of his soul: a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country."

    Even at the time, critics said Bush's unconditional praise — intended by most accounts as a tactical attempt to connect with Putin and speak of hope as reality — was nonetheless naive, given a crackdown on civil society groups in Russia and Moscow's brutal war in Chechnya.

    The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, came just three months after the Slovenia meeting. Putin's offer of bold and immediate terrorism-fighting support endeared him to Bush. The next May, at a Moscow summit, the leaders signed a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty and agreed to a broad cooperative agenda.

    But problems hovered.

    Bush's moves to expand missile defense, including withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, rankled Russia. The Kremlin's politically charged campaign against the Yukos oil company and its leaders alarmed Washington. The acrimonious debate leading up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003 made matters worse.

    The two sides also sniped about interference in Ukraine's 2004 presidential election. Generally, the Kremlin chafed at what it saw as U.S. meddling in its sphere of influence, through NATO expansion and relations with former Soviet republics.

    In 2005, at a meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, U.S. concerns about democratic backsliding in Russia spilled into the open.

    In recent months, a string of developments has caused a deeper slide, even amid greater cooperation against Iran's nuclear program and broader weapons proliferation.

    Moscow's unrelentingly hostile response to Bush's plan to build a missile defense system in Europe, based in the Czech Republic and Poland, has included threatening to aim missiles at Europe and inflammatory rhetoric denouncing the United States' "hyper use of force" in the world.

    Russia is blocking independence for Kosovo, favored by the U.S. Russia also is aiding separatists in Georgia and Moldova and has prevented peaceful demonstrations in Moscow. There are worries about Russia's manipulation of energy resources.

    Putin, appealing to nationalist sentiments at home and eager to re-establish Russia's geopolitical stature, bristles at U.S. criticism of human rights in Russia. He says the U.S. missile defense system on Russia's doorstep, in former Soviet satellites, is a security threat.

    Said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, "There is a great need for extra attention, extra attention on the highest level."

    The Kennebunkport meeting was suggested by Putin, but Bush chose the setting, the oceanfront compound built by his great-grandfather over 100 years ago on a finger of rock jutting into the water.

    "They are both now playing for history and legacy, and I really don't think that either of them want, as part of their legacy, a trashed U.S.-Russian relationship," said Andrew Kuchins, a Russia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

    One topic on Bush's agenda is getting Russia's support for a third, tougher round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran because of its refusal to stop enriching uranium. Tehran says the enrichment is intended for a nuclear energy program; the West suspects Iran wants to develop nuclear bombs.

    The U.S. on Friday began discussing with the Security Council new sanctions that would require all nations to inspect cargo for illicit nuclear-related shipments or arms coming from or going to Iran. On sanction would freeze assets on a number of Iranian banks, said a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are in their initial stages. Russia, along with China, has balked previously at such stringent measures, supporting only more modest penalties that have had little effect, so it was unclear whether Bush could make any headway with Putin now.

    Also, neither side has shown any give on the issues most dividing them, such as missile defense or Kosovo.

    "There really are no obvious candidates for a breakthrough issue that would impart a positive momentum to the broader relationship," said Steven Pifer, a deputy assistant secretary of state during Bush's first term.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Bush looks to his father to mend relations with Putin

    By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
    Published: 30 June 2007

    Tomorrow's summit between George Bush and Vladimir Putin raises the intriguing question of whether the shadow of the father can help the son bring an end to the frostiest period in ties between the United States and Russia since the Cold War?

    For the first time in his six-and-a-half years in power, Mr Bush is inviting a foreign dignitary not to the White House, or the Camp David retreat, or his ranch in Texas. This meeting takes place at the home of Mr Bush's father in Kennebunkport, Maine. The former president's deft handling of US-Soviet relations was a hallmark of his term in office.

    The White House confirmed yesterday that the 41st president will be at the house while his son entertains Mr Putin. Although he will not take part in the official talks, the elder Bush is bound to be involved informally as the two leaders address the host of grievances that divide them.

    These range from the planned US missile defence system in eastern Europe to the independence of Kosovo - both fiercely opposed by the Kremlin.

    Washington complains about the erosion of democracy and human rights in Russia and Moscow's bullying of neighbours once part of the Soviet Union. Mr Putin has responded by likening Mr Bush's foreign policy to that of Nazi Germany, and by offering his own missile defence project.

    Few breakthroughs are expected, and no formal agreements will be announced. The most realistic goal is to defuse mutual suspicions, and restore personal relations.

    The bracing surrounds of George Bush Snr's home at Walker's Point, a rocky promontory on the Atlantic coast, was where the former president used to oil the wheels of top-level diplomacy with fishing trips and games of horseshoe.

    Tomorrow and Monday, his son will be hoping to do the same. "What the President wants ... is the ambience and the background and the life out here just as it is when our family is here," Mr Bush Snr told a local radio station yesterday. "You sit down, no neckties, in a beautiful house looking over the sea and talk frankly without a lot of strap-hangers and note-takers."

    Perhaps tactfully, the 41st president did not mention the deeper symbolism of the venue, a reminder of the moderate and multilateralist foreign policy he pursued, so conspicuously abandoned by the 43rd. The century-old stone and shingle house breathes the old East Coast Republican establishment - similarly rejected by the defiantly Texan son.

    But such considerations may make little difference, even though neither side has an interest in allowing relations to worsen further. Today's tensions reflect both Russia's recovery of power, thanks largely to its immense energy riches, and its eternally suspicious view of the outside world.

    "This is not a new Cold War," said Strobe Talbott, Russian expert and deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration. Rather, after the humiliation of the chaos and economic collapse of the immediate post-Soviet period, Russia has re-emerged - as have China and India - as a force to be reckoned with. Like these latter, it is not an enemy of the US, still less the global ideological rival it was in the Soviet era. But it is a major power, and determined to be treated as such.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
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    Jan 2005
    Bush likely to lobby Putin on Iran

    KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine, June 30 (UPI) -- President Bush plans to seek Russia's assistance in putting pressure on Iran's nuclear program when Vladimir Putin comes calling this weekend.

    The Russian leader will be at the Bush cottage in Maine starting Sunday and likely will be pitched on a U.S. proposal made in the United Nations to squeeze Tehran through increased inspection of cargo headed into Iran.

    The New York Times said Saturday that U.S. officials were not certain how Putin would react to the idea or whether he would attempt to seek some kind of deal on U.S. plans to place missile-defense infrastructure in eastern Europe.

    Bush and Putin are expected to talk business; however, the Times said socializing also was expected, including some fishing and a dinner attended by Bush's parents.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #4
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    Does Bush know that Russia is helping Ir..... Nevermind

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Rebel against America, Chavez urges Russia

    By Carl Schrek in Moscow
    Last Updated: 1:59am BST 29/06/2007

    The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, called on Russia to challenge America's superpower status yesterday as part of a growing revolution against the "tyranny" of Washington.

    Arriving in Moscow for what is believed to be an arms-buying spree, the extreme Left-wing Latin American leader urged Russians to revive the thinking of the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin.

    "They don't want Russia to keep rising," he said, referring to America. "But Russia has risen again as a centre of power and we, the people of the world, need Russia to become stronger.

    "We should remember Vladimir Lenin and come back to his ideas, especially when it comes to anti-imperialism."

    Mr Chavez opened a cultural centre in Moscow, accompanied by a troupe of Venezuelan dancers and singers and a large delegation of military officers.

    He is expected to address members of parliament today and go to the races with President Vladimir Putin in southern Russia on Saturday before travelling on to Belarus and Iran.

    Mr Chavez, who frequently warns his countrymen of an imminent attack by the US, played down suggestions that he was in Moscow to seal a deal to buy Russian submarines.

    The purchase would be the latest addition to a growing list of military hardware oil-rich Venezuela has bought in recent months, to America's alarm.

    Last year Venezuela spent £1.5 billion on helicopter gunships, fighter planes and rifles from Russia.

    Mr Chavez hinted that helicopters might be next on his military shopping list before his departure for Moscow. In Belarus he is reportedly to discuss buying hardware for an air defence system.

    The Venezuelan leader yesterday emphasised the need of cultural resistance to America's "imperial bombardment".

    He also welcomed Russian investment in his country's booming energy sector. He said that US companies unwilling to stick by Venezuela's move toward nationalisation of oil resources should leave.

    Mr Chavez has been feted during his visit. The Russian MP, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said: "He's the best president on the planet ... There's nothing wrong with Russia being friends with leaders who are anti-American because the whole world is anti-American."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #6
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    Jan 2005
    Putin hits US with new missile defense offer

    Published: Monday July 2, 2007

    Russian leader Vladimir Putin Monday proposed broadening US missile defense plans in Europe by bringing NATO into the project that has strained relations with the United States.

    "It is possible to widen the number of European partners who might be interested in resolving this question" as part of a "platform of Russia-NATO cooperation," Putin told reporters here, where US President George W. Bush hosted him at the Bush family's seaside retreat.

    Bush did not back down however on his insistence that parts of the shield should be located in central Europe.

    The United States says the system aims to ward off attack from "rogue states" such as Iran, but Russia fiercely opposes it, viewing it as a threat to its own security.

    After informal talks aimed at soothing recent rancor between Moscow and Washington, Putin said he was ready to bring a new early warning radar facility stationed in southern Russia into the US plans.

    Putin last month offered to switch the site of the US installations to Azerbaijan.

    He also proposed on Monday setting up an online "information exchange center" in Moscow as part of the system, with a similar installation in a European city.

    "In this case, there'd be no need to place any more facilities in Europe -- I mean, the (radar) facility in Czech Republic and the missile base in Poland," the Russian leader said.

    Bush called Putin's offer a "very constructive and bold strategic move" that needed further examination. But he insisted that "the Czech Republic and Poland need to be an integral part of this system."

    "President Putin proposed a regional approach to missile defense, that we ought to work together bilaterally as well as work through the Russia-NATO Council. And I'm in strong agreement with that concept," he said.

    He also lauded progress towards getting Russia on board for tougher sanctions against Iran's nuclear drive. "We're close on recognizing that we got to work together to send a common message," he said.

    Putin, however, said the Islamic republic was showing signs of cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, and with the European Union.

    Iran said on Saturday that the IAEA's deputy chief would visit Tehran on July 11 to try to resolve outstanding issues over its nuclear program, which the West suspects is a secret drive to build atomic weapons.

    Putin was the first foreign leader to be hosted by Bush at his parents' vacation home in Kennebunkport. US officials hoped that the relaxed, outdoor setting of the so-called "lobster summit" would inject a warmer tone into the frosty relationship.

    Appearing without jackets and ties, the US and Russian leaders bid to defuse tensions over irritants including missile defense and Kosovo, that have led some observers to fret about a return to Cold War-era mistrust.

    Putin said the "warm" welcome given to him at Kennebunkport -- including from the 41st president and current leader's father, George Bush -- went "way beyond" the obligations of protocol.

    After the former president had greeted the Russian leader Sunday evening, a snappily dressed Putin offered a bouquet of flowers to First Lady Laura Bush, who displayed informal ease by adjusting his tieless collar.

    "Yes, I trust him," Bush said of Putin. "Do I like everything he says? No. And I suspect he doesn't like everything I say. But we're able to say it in a way that shows mutual respect."

    Responding to the US anti-missile plans, Putin had threatened at one point to once again train Russia's nuclear warheads on Europe.

    But he then issued his surprise offer at last month's Group of Eight summit to install part of the system in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan.

    After two hours of talks on Sunday beside the rugged Maine coast, Bush and Putin held a breakfast meeting on Monday before a fishing trip on which Bush said Putin caught a fish -- reportedly a striped bass.

    Putin insisted it was "a team effort."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #7
    somebigguy Guest
    Wow, some people will travel across the globe just to see bush...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by somebigguy
    Wow, some people will travel across the globe just to see bush...
    Count me in.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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