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Why Attempts to Isolate Russia Won’t Work

bushroses081508.jpgPresident Bush seems quite confused as to how he can wield any influence whatsoever over Russian conduct in Georgia. His latest statements find him actually having to repeat his requests for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, and even whining about Russian “bullying.” (hint: only the bullied talk about bullying.) Unlike the West, the Russian response with regard to Georgia ever regaining their U.N.-recognized sovereignty over the breakaway provinces has been swift and unequivocal: fuhgettaboutit. Now the latest news is that the maverick foreign policy minds of the Bush Administration are working on a clever new strategy to “isolate” Russia as punishment for invading Georgia. Who does he think he’s kidding?

However, this kind of threat is completely toothless in reality, when Russia has spent the last five years making enormous steps forward to place its political interests into the highest levels of the private corporate sector. Let’s face it: Europe will not go along with any Washington-led effort to to isolate Russia when it is so much more profitable to bend to their will – which has been the established trend for years. Has everyone forgotten that the former Chancellor of Germany is an employee of the Kremlin, former President of France Jacques Chirac is given $200,000 prize payouts for overlooking human rights, that they offered to hire former Italian PM Romano Prodi, and just today, they have gloriously signed up former Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen as their latest employee?This latest piece from the Financial Times remarks on how the dramatic financial and economic expansion of Russia in recent years has made them quite prepared to absorb any backlash from the invasion of a foreign country. Although the piece concludes that “enmeshing them into the global economy and its institutions – remains preferable to throwing up artificial barriers,” there is little doubt that Kremlin has been very smart with its money in recent years, and that this mercantilist orientation likely factored into their decision-making process about the international reaction to military action against Georgia.What a sad, sad state of affairs. The administration had better go back to the drawing board and come up with something new … but given that Bush decided to head back to the ranch at Crawford after this soft speech, it seems that the roses placed in front of the podium were the last of the revolution.