Is Putin Really A Friend In The "War On Terror?"
Is Russian President Vladimir Putin really a friend in the "war on terror?"
President Bush has called Russia "a strong ally in ... fighting the war on terror," and "a strong and viable partner with the United States."
It's great spin, especially when accompanied by warm handshakes like the one in the photo at right. But there's no reason to believe the relationship between Bush and Putin has translated into any kind of partnership on Iraq or Iran.
Earlier this year, a Pentagon report revealed that the Russian government provided Saddam Hussein with intelligence on U.S. military movements and plans during the opening days of the war in 2003. Russia called the allegations "ridiculous," but the Pentagon hasn't backed away from the claims.
In July, Bush stood side by side with Putin at the G8 Summit in Russia. Bush told Putin that Americans want Russia to develop a free press and free religion “like Iraq.” To laughter and applause, Putin responded: “We certainly would not want to have same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, quite honestly.”
Remember, Putin is our "strong ally in ... fighting the war on terror."
Now comes word that Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, in spite of U.S. criticism.
In August, Russia rejected talk of sanctions against Iran.
"I believe that the question is not so serious ... to consider any introduction of sanctions. Russia stands for further political and diplomatic efforts to settle the issue," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters at the time. Russia also failed to warm up to the idea of sanctions after a trip last month to Moscow by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
So Russia isn't listening to us. It might have helped Iraq. And its leader, Putin, makes jokes about it.
How again is Russia our "strong ally in ... fighting the war on terror?"