Russians ponder: 'Should we care what Joe Biden says?'



Izvestia, Russia

Shall We Say to Hell With Joe Biden?


"Russians always put a lot of stock in what foreigners say about us. ... So someone said something downright insulting to us, so what? Should we so neurotically attach statements like this with such meaning?"


By Georgiy Bovt, Political Scientist



Translated By Yekaterina Blinova


July 31, 2009


Russia - Izvestia - Original Article (Russian)

Vice President Joe Biden: His recent comments about Russian weakness have made waves in the Kremlin. But should Russians really be concerned?


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Vice President Biden tells Georgians that America supports them, even as Washington seeks better ties to Russia, July 23, 00:02:12RealVideo

It's doubtful that in the U.S., Vice President Joseph Biden's recent interview with The Wall Street Journal received the same amount of "media coverage," as Americans would put it, as it has here in Russia. We always put a lot of stock in what foreigners say about us. In modern history, this goes back to the times that Lenin conversed with Herbert Wells at the Kremlin. Even then, it was important that foreign guests leave enchanted Ö


And now - oh this bad Biden has said that the Russian economy is "withering," that the country is threatened by a demographic crisis, that our banking system is weak (but somehow he allowed that "weak" system to continue for 15 long years before it collapsed), and our nuclear deterrent is dissipating before our very eyes. According to Biden, all of these elements combined will force Russians to be more docile in their relations with the West - and with America in particular. And he, that scoundrel, even commented on the "Nabucco" gas pipeline that would circumvent Russia on its way to Europe: they, Europeans, would never have agreed to build it if not for Russian "gas blackmail."


Not only didn't the interview go unnoticed in Russia - it was widely publicized and "worthy" of comment from senior diplomats and the president's assistant on foreign affairs, Sergey Prikhodko himself. Political commentators have begun to look for - and find - "two lines" in the Obama Administration, that might square the situation with the Bush era, when Vice President Cheney played the role of chief "hawk." To balance out Bidenís messages, the statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was immediately and gladly "highlighted," particularly her comments recognizing the important role Russia plays in the world and in particular areas, for the United States. What joy! We have been praised and recognized as important!



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So should we say to hell with Biden? And with what Hillary said, too? So someone said something downright insulting to us (although, if Bidenís remarks were made by one of our analysts, this viewpoint would at least be considered worthy of existence), so what? Should we so neurotically attach statements like this with such meaning? Should foreign policy in general, tactically, let alone strategically, be based on a reaction to what someone may have said? Such conduct on the part of a country would look - at least to most observers - as pitiful and flawed as the temperamental behavior of an adolescent with whom one should be especially careful. Not in negotiations but when speaking symbolically, in order not to hurt his self image. It's as if someone at the American government level began to respond seriously to the extravagant forecasts of our professor at the Diplomatic Academy [Igor Panarin], who predicts the dissolution of America into several countries within a mere year or two. How dare this teacher of future Russian diplomats threaten the integrity and sovereignty of the United States!


Or consider not Biden, but Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his staff. Some time ago, there was nearly a Russian-Belorussian diplomatic crisis when a Belorussian official, and not even one a senior one, made a statement about Belorussians needing to comply Georgian law while visiting South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Well, strictly speaking, if citizens of any country in the world plan a trip to Georgia, they must at least know that if they have a stamp in their passport testifying to their entry through Russia into South Ossetia or Abkhazia, they could face up to four years imprisonment in Georgia. Recently, an Armenian citizen was arrested on this charge - and convicted. And this is precisely why recommendations similar to those of Belorussia had already been made by other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. As the saying goes, they are entitled to do so. ††††



And as for the fact that the Belorussian chief of state hasn't followed through with his earlier suggestions to us that he would recognize the two new countries - to hell with him too. We have no business scouring the world for new allies on this issue. It is alleged that we have convinced Nicaragua, but that they, having recognized the two new countries, still donít want to establish diplomatic relations. Let no one at all recognize them any time soon. We must be very patient about waiting for one or another solution that will satisfy us. There's no need to rush into demeaning, premature requests, particularly by offering subsidized loans. Such a rush would be appreciated by no one and would earn us no sincere support. And besides, if we're confident in our position then there's no need to seek approval of our confidence from some outsider's words, praise and flattery - but insincere support. This is true in the case of Biden, in the case of Lukashenko, and in all other cases.





































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US August 5, 4:19pm]


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