Rice’s Hit and Run on Russia at Davos

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making some news for her comments on Russia at the World Economic Forum at Davos. As the conference organizers are at great pains to make everyone get along and sound civilized, usually most tough questions and direct engagements are avoided, by Rice managed to slip in a little “hit and run” quip at Russia, but then later made up for it by saying the talk of a new Cold War is “hyperbolic nonsense.” See the video of her speech here, and some excerpted text from the transcript after the jump.

From Secretary Rice’s speech at Davos:

But perhaps nowhere is it clearer that we have no permanent enemies than in our relationship with Russia. Ladies and gentlemen, the recent talk about a new Cold War is hyperbolic nonsense. Our relations today are fundamentally different than they were when all we shared was the desire to avoid mutual annihilation.The fact is that the United States and Russia are working constructively today on many issues of mutual interest – from counter-proliferation, to counter-terrorism, to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East. And we are determined to remember this, even when we hear unwise and irresponsible rhetoric from Russia itself that harkens back to an earlier time.To be sure, there have been disappointments. Though we recognize that Russians today enjoy considerable personal and economic freedom, we believe that Russia’s greatness will ultimately be secured best through greater political freedom for its people – and through the establishment of strong institutions that check the power of the state, rather than serve the interests of a few.We also believe that Russia should contribute to a transparent and open global energy economy, not a monopolistic one. But whatever the difficulties, no one can imagine a world in which the absence of U.S.-Russian cooperation will make any of our challenges easier to solve.