- Giving an honest assurance
- Trying to deceive with a double negative
- Or uttering an unsophisticated, bald-faced, lie
Russia Has No Territorial Ambitions: Good News, if TrueThe Russian deputy to Vladimir Putin, Sergei Ivanov, said that Russia has entirely peaceful intentions. Russia has no intention of re-conquering its Soviet-era territories.
And, he's sticking to the story that it's Georgia's fault that Russia invaded Georgia last August. I'll say this: blaming Georgia for Russia's invasion makes a little more sense than blaming President Bush. Although the 'Bush made Georgia make Russia invade Georgia so that McCain would get elected' idea that Putin proposed toward the end of August had the virtue of being one of the more entertaining conspiracy theories I've read.
The Times Online (UK) article quotes Mr. Ivanov:
- " 'We are not aggressive,' Ivanov said in an interview. 'We have recognised the territorial integrity of all former Soviet republics. That was in 1991. Russia, of course, has no territorial ambitions regarding any former Soviet countries.
- " 'We are not going to start a war or attack any country. Right now, in fact, Russia isn’t fighting any war at all. If you analyse how many wars the United States and Britain are fighting, it’s quite different.' "
I suspect that the probably-unexpected fuss over Russia's invasion of Georgia may have made an impression in the Kremlin.
I rather hope so. Much as I sympathize with Russia's comparative lack of deep-harbor ports, I think that the age of military empire-building has passed.
There are, however, more tolerant views. Boston University's Professor Andrew J. Bacevich said that we should be understanding about Russia: all that Russian leaders want is a little empire to call their own. Professor B. has, incidentally, recently published a book, "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."
More Good Words from Russia: We Will Negotiate with UkraineMeanwhile, BBC News reports that the Russian fleet will move out of Ukraine's Sevastopol port facility in 2017: if the Ukrainian government asks them to. Sergei Ivanov said so.
And, reading the BBC article, I learn that Mr. Ivanov is holding on to some of the it's-America's-fault line. Apparently, the American government is to blame for arming Georgia. Russia told America not to, and see what happened.
And, Mr. Putin's Dog is Doing FineMeanwhile, the new Russian equivalent of the GPS system tracked the movements of Mr. Putin's black Labrador, Koni. The test, broadcast of Russian television, was a success.
That isn't related to Mr. Ivanov's assurances that Russia isn't building an empire, and that Georgia is America's fault, but it's one of the few news items I found this weekend, about Mr. Putin, Mr. Ivanov, and Russia, from American news sources.
I'm Not Reassured: But This is Good NewsFor now, I'm cautiously hopeful that Russia isn't planning to re-conquer its Soviet-era empire. I think it's quite possible that western Europe, and the United Nations, raising such a fuss over its invasion of Georgia may have made a difference in Russia's foreign policy.
Or, maybe Russia isn't anywhere near as subtle and sophisticated in dealing with little countries on its borders as its fans seem to imagine.
Some previous posts on this topic:
- "Russia: Ukraine Did Something Bad - Who Could Have Predicted This?"
(October 2, 2008)
- "Russia and Georgia: It Depends on How You Look at It"
(September 8, 2008)
- "Georgian Invasion an American Plot: Who Knew?"
(August 28, 2008)
- " 'Quagmire's' Back: Georgia, Russia, NATO, Bush, and the Blame Game"
(August 24, 2008)
- "Russia and Georgia is America and Iraq: Everybody Knows That!"
(August 16, 2008)
- "Russia, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and - Iraq?!"
(August 11, 2008)
- "Russia, Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and the War on Terror"
(August 10, 2008)
- "Vladimir Putin's Deputy Vows 'Russia Will Not Attack Neighbors' "
Excerpted from TimesOnline, by FOXNews (October 19, 2008)
- "Vladimir Putin’s deputy rules out attacks on Russia’s neighbours"
TimesOnline (October 19, 2008)
- "Russia fleet 'may leave Ukraine' "
BBC News (October 18, 2008)
- "Putin tracks pet dog from space"
CNN (October 17, 2008)