Just how ‘ludicrous?

JUST how pertinent was US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s dismissal of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s concerns regarding US-Nato adventures in Europe simply as "ludicrous"? In the Munich summit recently and now during his annual address to parliament, Putin’s harsh words for US foreign policy betray a tilt in Moscow’s power circles that is reminiscent of the Cold War.

It would be fair to say that the the US Defence Department has taken the change of attitude in the Kremlin much more seriously than the State Department, with Secretary Robert Gates dashing to Moscow for what turned out to be unsuccessful talks with Putin. Perhaps the most significant point Washington is missing is that attempts at placating the Russians by offering increased missile defence cooperation and confidence building measures will not work because the US is no longer able to hide its international expansionist agenda.

Few could fault Putin in Munich in February, when he used words like "uncontained hyper use of force" and "the US has overstepped its national borders in every way" to describe what a constantly increasing majority of the international community now knows to be the original neocon agenda.

It is noteworthy that just as the Bush administration is seemingly unbothered by new standoffs cropping up with regard to the Middle East troubles, it is also not too concerned about how its muscle-minded policies affect budding alliances. And if the American justification for the anti-ballistic missiles and their radar in Poland and the Czech Republic are to be taken at face value, then so too Russian concerns. Needlessly confusing the power-balance in the still-evolving region can undo years of progressive work.

Whichever way the future-course takes, American foreign policy has already distanced yet another post-9/11 sympathiser and potential partner. And despite the down-trend, there is absolutely no indication that the Bush administration is in any mood for a re-think.

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