FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA U.S.-RUSSIAN AFFAIRS
SCOTTSDALE, July 15, 2006 - The cat's out of the bag. Thanks to a photo published today by China Daily, the world can now see clearly who is leading in the global minuet: the shorter dance partner appears to have the upper hand in a picture that's worth a thousand words.
Despite cooler U.S.-Russia relations (see "Tricky
Dicky II [Cheney] Is Back," May 2006), the leaders of Russia and
America sought to project an image of harmony, playing down differences
over Russia's commitment to democracy, possible sanctions on Iran and how
to react to fighting between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, and the
failure to reach an agreement on Russia's admission to the WTO (World
But the TV viewers might have also rolled their eyes in disbelief at
the sight of a president with an approval
rating of 36% lecturing on democracy the one who is liked
by 77% of his voters.
Putin's main hope for the summit is to display his nation's new-found self-confidence as it rides an economic boom as a top oil and gas exporter, and to rid itself of the image of being an outsider in the group. The setting for the summit -- that will also bring together the leaders of Britain, Japan, Canada, Italy, France and Germany -- in a lavishly restored 18th century palace off the Gulf of Finland underscores that revival.
The annual G8 meeting has in the past drawn sometimes violent anti-globalization protests. But tight restrictions and heavy policing ensured that in Russia's second city they were a far cry from those at previous summits.
How tight? Citing security reasons, Putin's officials reportedly moved out the residents of the inner city (shown above during fireworks celebrating the end of the school year in late May).
"It is a sort of a forced vacation," one Russian source told
TiM. "They are put up at various government resorts outside the
city. It's quite disgusting."
"How did the Yankees do last night?"
"Oh, they had the night off?"
"And they did what? They went to a Russian ball?"
"And had a ball there?"
"But of course, they would have a ball at a Russian ball. They are the Yankees. That's what they do. They play ball. Hard."
"But the Russians are leading? Strange... those tricky Russkies. First, the Cubans hijack America's favorite pastime, and now they. Wonder who put in Putin to manage their team?"
"The president of the American League West?"
"Hm... Guess they're all the same. It's all about money. Nobody gives a damn about the fans anymore."
"They never did? Maybe you're right... When's the next game?"
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Also see... "Tricky Dicky II [Cheney] Is Back," May 2006), Putin Responds; Washington Coddling Up to China; plus... "Cheney Nominated: Weep Mankind!" (Jul 26, 2000) (or should it be "Veep Mankind?" J); "American vs. Serbian 'Demo Farce'," Aug 2000); "Bush League All-Stars," Feb 2002), or click on the links to see other articles on global; and Russian affairs...
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