Jewish World Review April 25, 2003 / 23 Nissan, 5763
My message to Putin: Call President Bush
A week in the Russian capital meeting with the staff of former President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian experts on America makes clear how far President Vladimir Putin has strayed from Moscow's real interests in his misguided policy on Iraq.
In Moscow for the Russian-language publication of my book, The New Prince, I gave a lengthy interview to Izvestya, the leading Russian daily newspaper, which ran on the front page. I used the opportunity to underscore the error the Russian president had made in siding with the likes of France and Germany, rather than deepening and broadening the budding relations between himself and President Bush.
With the end of the economic determinalism of foreign policy under President Clinton and the return to the more traditional military and diplomatic motivations for our international relations brought on by the war on terror, Russia has a new role to play. But Putin doesn't get it.
A minor economic power, Yeltsin's and Putin's Russia had to sit on the sidelines as Japan and the European Union took center stage alongside the United States in a new world order founded on neoliberal economic and trade policies. But now that global economic trade and shared free markets have been increasingly achieved and the threats of terrorism have taken their place as our key concerns, Russia need no longer wait in the wings.
With its huge land mass, borders with many trouble spots, its traditional relations with such problem states as Iran, North Korea and Syria, its role in the arms trade and its remaining military and intelligence powers, Moscow has a future that dwarfs that of either France or Germany. Indeed, in the ruins of the United Nations, one can easily see a return to the Big Three of World War II vintage in which the roles of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill are played by their more prosaic successors: Bush, Putin and Blair.
It is no longer time for Russia to play for small stakes by cooperating with France in the hopes that some oil contracts will fall from the table. Instead, Putin should seize the opportunity to reassert a role for Russia by taking his seat at a more important table - not the round one of the U.N. Security Council where irrelevant nations such as France, Angola and Chile presume to dictate world affairs but a triangular table where the Big Three lead the world.
Nor should Putin be overly concerned about opposition by the Russian people to cooperation with the United States in the war on terror. If Russia can re-emerge on the global stage as a major power, rather than a supplicant seeking aid or a scavenger looking for contracts, the Russian people will be thrilled and will reward Putin with even higher ratings than the 60 percent of which he now boasts.
Unfortunately, Putin doesn't seem to realize that the world has changed and that the Russian policy of looking to the United Nations and relying on its Security Council seat as its base of power in a world dominated by the big economies undervalues the potential of Russian power. Bush likely would and certainly should welcome Putin into the Big Three as an ally and partner in the eradication of global terrorism, a goal as important to Russia with its Muslim neighbors as it is to the United States and Britain.
Compare the power of Tony Blair and Putin. The British leader, who accepted a seat at the Big Three table, has enormous influence over U.S. policy. Bush would have gone to war nearly a year ago but for Blair's insistence on pursuing U.N. approval.
Both because of his nation's contribution and his personal persuasiveness as he sits at Bush's side, Blair is a power on the world stage. By contrast, Putin can get invited only to the losers club with France, Germany and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. There they can raise alternate toasts of vodka, champagne and beer to their lost era of world power.
It's time for Putin to realize that he can get back in the game and to give Bush a call. Anyway, that's what I said in Izvestya. I hope Vladimir Vladimirovich reads it and JWR.
Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.
04/23/03: NO OIL FOR BLOOD
04/21/03: The war that network news lost in Iraq
04/15/03: Media meltdown
04/10/03: Giving government a good name
04/03/03: Polls' message to Bush: Relax and win the war
03/31/03: Bomb as you need
03/28/03: The strong grow weak through inhibition
03/26/03: Carping pessimism of TV anchors and interviewers fails to give Americans a sense of defeatism
03/17/03: Poll: Get on with it
03/13/03: It's time for U.S. to play hardball at U.N.
03/10/03: The whole (Hispanic) world is watching
03/07/03: Anti-war errors
03/05/03: Domino theory II: Toppling Mideast despots
03/03/03: Europe's triangulators: Chirac and Blair
02/27/03: Invasion? More like a coup
02/21/03: The first casualty of Iraq war: Liberal credibility
02/19/03: Old Europe's last hurrah
02/14/03: Corzine throws down gauntlet on Wall St. fraud
02/12/03: An exile deal for Saddam
02/07/03: The Dems give up the House
02/05/03: France: Saddam's ally
02/03/03: War critics will suffer
02/30/03: Even by Clinton standards, it's sheer chutzpah
01/24/03: Rebirth of the balanced budget Republican
01/22/03: Next to Bubba, Dubya's got it good
01/16/03: End racism in affirmative action
01/13/03: The new swing voter
01/10/03: Political e-mailing comes of age
01/07/03: In Dem race: Home field no advantage
12/31/02: Hey, Hillary: Want to appear like a stateswomyn? Stay silent
12/19/02: Kerry in the lead
12/19/02: Lieberman the frontrunner
12/17/02: In defense of Lott
12/02/02: An issue for Bush: Drugs
11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine
01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history
© 2002, Dick Morris