Why isn't Putin going to the G8 summit at Camp David?

Author: usruss
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Why isn
Published 25-07-2012, 07:57

At the same time, this gesture confirms Putin's intensions to keep the tandem fully operational. In the sharing of responsibilities between the tandem partners, Putin might delegate to Medvedev the oversight of his foreign policy agenda – at least in relations with the West, where Medvedev is obviously better liked than Putin. Who knows, Medvedev might score a few extra points with the G8 and the rest of the Western crowd by playing the good cop.

Of course, newly elected presidents often make their first foreign trips to countries they consider to be the most important in their strategic thinking. A recent example is newly elected French President Francois Hollande's trip to Germany the day after his inauguration. Putin's priorities, with his Eurasian Union idea, are obviously different: Belarus, Kazakhstan and China loom largest. Putin's brief visit to Abkhazia, little noticed in the media, should also be seen as a clear signal to Georgia and its Western backers regarding his intensions in this part of the world.

The expert community has repeatedly warned the U.S. foreign policy establishment that Washington's short-sighted treatment of Putin and its total disregard of Russia's geopolitical interests will push Moscow into China's welcoming embrace. Cynics, however, discounted such warnings, insisting that no matter what America does, Russia has no other place to go but right back to the United States, begging for handouts.

Such thinking could have had some merit in the 1990s, when Russia was close to financial and every other type of collapse. These days, however, it is America that has to worry about its own economic health. Many experts share the opinion of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma that today America stands on the brink of financial ruin, a disaster far more dangerous to our safety than any terrorist threats we face. One would also do well to remember at all times the current disastrous situation in Europe.

Taking into account these new realities, it is probably high time for Washington to rethink its arrogant policies. Instead of continually lecturing and criticizing Putin it might propose to him an ambitious and mutually beneficial cooperation agenda. If anything like it were to occur at the upcoming summit, I am sure Putin would come. The way things are, though, the G8 summit at Camp David is just a PR stunt with photo ops for its participants and a total waste of taxpayers' money.

I wish Medvedev might table such an agenda for discussion at the summit. This would at least partially justify the expense of the gathering and give the rest of the leaders some much-needed food for thought.
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