Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rice in Russia - Handing Out Carrots....For Free

Condoleeza Rice traveled to Russia this week to seek its support for referring Iran to the UN Security Council over its apparent attempts to build nuclear weapons, and also to seek its support in pressuring Syria on a number of issues, amongst other things. Russia flatly refused her on the issue of Iran.

Russian support on the Iran issue was the U.S.' top priority by far. Why then did Condoleeza Rice promise Russia that the U.S. would not open any new bases in Central Asia - the issue Russia was most concerned with. Russia, with the aid and encouragement of China, wants the U.S. out of Central Asia period. Both countries feel that they are now in a position to be regional power-houses again, and see the U.S. as the biggest hinderance to that. The issue is both geopolitical and economic.

Why then would Condoleeza Rice - and the Bush Administration for that matter - give Russia and China its biggest strategic victory over the U.S. in decades, but get nothing in return? The issue of U.S. presence in Central Asia was one of the U.S.' biggest carrots. By ceding that issue to Russia (and China by default), the U.S. - by all appearances - will now have very few major incentives left to offer Russia and China in return for support on the UN Security Council.

From a geopolitical/strategic standpoint, I cannot see why we (the U.S.) have made this move? Maybe someone can point me toward a good reason.


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