Russia's Future Is in Russia's Hands

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 19, 2008
Rice at German Marshall Fund

Full Text

Yesterday, Secretary Rice delivered a speech on U.S.-Russian relations to the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC. In her remarks, Secretary Rice said:

"I have come here today to speak with you about a subject that’s been on everyone’s mind recently: Russia and U.S.-Russian relations.

Most of us are familiar with the events of the past month. The causes of the conflict -- particularly the dispute between Georgia and its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia -- are complex. They go back to the fall of the Soviet Union. And the United States and our allies have tried many times to help the parties resolve the dispute diplomatically. Indeed, it was, in part, for just that reason that I traveled to Georgia just a month before the conflict, as did German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, among others.

The conflict in Georgia, thus, has deep roots. And clearly, all sides made mistakes and miscalculations. But several key facts are clear:

On August 7th, following repeated violations of the ceasefire in South Ossetia, including the shelling of Georgian villages, the Georgian government launched a major military operation into Tskhinvali and other areas of the separatist region. Regrettably, several Russian peacekeepers were killed in the fighting.

These events were troubling. But the situation deteriorated further when Russia’s leaders violated Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity -- and launched a full scale invasion across an internationally-recognized border. Thousands of innocent civilians were displaced from their homes. Russia's leaders established a military occupation that stretched deep into Georgian territory. And they violated the ceasefire agreement that had been negotiated by French and EU President Sarkozy.

Other actions of Russia during this crisis have also been deeply disconcerting: its alarmist allegations of "genocide" by Georgian forces, its baseless statements about U.S. actions during the conflict, its attempt to dismember a sovereign country by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, its talk of having "privileged interests" in how it treats its independent neighbors, and its refusal to allow international monitors and NGOs into Abkhazia and South Ossetia, despite ongoing militia violence and retribution against innocent Georgians.

What is more disturbing about Russia's actions is that they fit into a worsening pattern of behavior over several years now.

I'm referring, among other things, to Russia’s intimidation of its sovereign neighbors, its use of oil and gas as a political weapon, its unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty, its threat to target peaceful nations with nuclear weapons, its arms sales to states and groups that threaten international security, and its persecution -- and worse -- of Russian journalists, and dissidents, and others.

The picture emerging from this pattern of behavior is that of a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad.

Now, this behavior did not go unnoticed or unchallenged over the last several years. We have tried to address it in the context of efforts to forge a constructive relationship with Russia. But the attack on Georgia has crystallized the course that Russia's leaders are now taking and it has brought us to a critical moment for Russia and the world. A critical moment -- but not a deterministic one.

Russia's leaders are making some unfortunate choices. But they can still make different ones. Russia's future is in Russia's hands. But its choices will be shaped, in part, by the actions of the United States, our friends, and our allies -- both in the incentives that we provide and the pressure that we apply."

Read the full text of Secretary Rice's remarks.

Comments

Comments

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 19, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I think everyone is making more of this than necessary to be honest.

It was predictable that Russia would have to establish its power at some point in time. All newly established regimes, political candidates, political parties; even new leaders, all do this at some juncture. Economic, Military and diplomatic pares, so to speak, are always made and directed to gain as much information as possible.

For them to make this move at some time when the US, who represents the largest Military and Economic democracy, was at this place in time was only natural. All democratic countries are economically struggling; the US is extended militarily..and so on. Perfect timing for them and our counters simply add to their knowledge base at this junction -- showing little or no preventative measures from our end, only defensive posturing.

I find it more than disconcerting that WE WERE NOT PREPAIRED in any aspect and that the Red Flags ignored. Makes you wonder who is really unstable in actuality. I would wonder how it happened, I would WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
September 19, 2008

Donald in Virginia writes:

19 September 08

ECCLESIASTES 3:1 (holy bible)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and A time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, an a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace;

God Bless and lets hope that all countries will work for Peace not war!!!

Lloyd
|
New York, USA
September 20, 2008

Lloyd in New York writes:

Most of us are familiar with the events of the past several years. The causes of the conflict between the US and Russia -- particularly the constant, bellicose, public, non-constructive, criticism of Vladimir Putin, unilateral abrogation of treaties, arms deployment on Russia's borders, and failure to engage Russia an a partner in strategic decisions.

Putin has tried to strengthen Russia by opening the country to global financial markets, and stabilize the country in the only ways he understands -- dismantling democratic institutions and re-instituting authoritarian controls. These actions were entirely predictable as the US withdrew from constant involvement in the re-structuring of Russian economic and political institutions. The US still has a myriad of effective constructive counters to move Medvedev and Putin out of their authoritarian comfort zone and back toward democracy.

How can we help create an environment in which a Putin or Medvedev can feel that rules are in place that will promote the advancement of their country and protect them when they give up the reins of power? Constant engagement is required. Criticizing rulers that have dictatorial role models and fear of Western powers is useless unless you want to create an enemy, instead of a strategic partner.

The US has helped Putin fan the flames of Russian pride and patriotism by: playing the role of external threat, helping to drive up the price of oil above the $70 per barrel required for Russia to accumulate substantial revenue, and emboldening Russia's neighbors. The poorly played situation in Georgia is hardly worth mentioning.

Russia is trying to build a Command Economy with access to global financial markets, rather than a Capitalist Economy. Russia's economic development efforts provide all the connections needed to influence change in Russian government and society.

Unfortunately, Vladimir and Medvedev's actions with BP, and other companies began a wave of capital flight that was only accelerated by recent events, as investors finally realize the limits of ownership in Russia. If you review Putin's comments at the recent economic conference in Sochi, you will see that there is a real cultural gap -- he doesn't understand why investors are leaving.

The large and powerful criminal class in Russia has a pervasive influence over societal behavior and all significant financial activity. Putin adopts these behaviors and uses authoritarian rule to keep others under control. One hundred years of dictatorial rule have created civil problems that may take a generation to change sufficiently that Russian leaders can accept the limitations of a democratic government.

Kicking them while they are down, which is how I interpret Secretary Rice's comments, provide more of the polarizing commentary that authoritarian leaders can use to gain popular support. These tactics won't get the job done.

We need to constructively manage our mutual civil, economic and military connections to get the relationship moving in the right direction.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 20, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

The dualistic nature of our existance comes from the same source.

The human condition.

We take the attitude that these things are managable with the illusion of self control.

In an insane world that can self exterminate,

Murphy's Law rules.

I have never found Russia's reasoning in this matter credible. It is as one puts on a mask.

The things nations do in the name of "peacekeeping"...

Hypotheticly speaking might include invading a soverign nation to prevent separatists in that nation from obtaining possesion of something left over from Soviet Cold War era WMD production, without informing that government that it was there, since they had no prior knowledge of its existance, and animosity and mistrust prevented such communication.

And if such was the case, the agressor would have to have one heck of a cover story.

But I'm looking at a story from Russia that doesn't fit reality. Maybe it fits their perceptions of reality, but it is a dysfunctional vision of what is, at best.

I just read the Russian President's rebuttle to Sec. Rice's remarks above, and that boy needs a serious education into what we're really all about. As does his "boss".

But posing and posturing is all really part of the dance around reality in the ground.

Same as it ever was. The human struggle for control.

This imperfect Buddhist seeks no conspiracy to theorize upon, only seeing the probability in question.

When Battleships give way to Sailboats, how does the world realize its true self?

WMD-free.

John
|
Greece
September 20, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Donald in Virginia

We all hope the same Donald: Peace!
However, just in case, do you have any Bible verses in russkiy?

Neither I know something, nor I have any info, but I feel (and fear) that the next "Putin Co & Associates""investment" will be in Ukraine.
(If they do not close their stock market once again)

So, Rusyn, Russkiy and the Cyrillic alphabet may become very useful during our prays.

Best regards! Keep on praying for us anyway.

Maria
|
Russia
September 22, 2008

Maria in Russia writes:

I from Russia. And I absolutely agree with Condoleeza Rice. Condoleeza -- the great woman!

Chul-hong
|
South Korea
September 20, 2008

Chul-hong in South Korea writes:

Nationalism has arisen almost all over the world especially in Russia, China, Japan since the start of 21st century.

We already note that Russia's Communism be placed by Nationalism which shouldn't be ignorant of.

Amidst of its Nationalism, there is 'Putin' who is the [nominal second] governor now.

'Putin' has expressed openly or foldly that Russia should resume its prosperity comparable to USSR.

So, the first thing to prevent Russia's ambitions is to get 'Putin' off from his position.

But, that is a hard thing to be realized because Russia is not such as Iraq, Afghanistan.

Uncautious military action against Russia may raise crises on earth.

In conclusion, the best thing to frustrate Russia's aspirations is to isolate its economy with ties of nations around Russia, I think.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 20, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

PBS Washington Week Friday Sept. 19 Analysis on the impact the crisis on Wall Street is having on the national and global economy plus a closer look at the different solutions Barack Obama and John McCain are offering voters ...

What is interesting in this show is the continued Admission that the Free Market System, without Governmental restrictions, DOES NOT WORK!

A direct reflection of what Putin corrected some time ago in Russia step by step and was in analysis in Russia Analysis some time ago: "Why the Free Market System did not work in Russia." Putin is apparently a much better economist than our representation.

We let the markets run chaotically, without any restrictions, to the point of endangering everything from Americans homes, pension funds and our ability trade effectively and use economic leverage globally. Just imagine what would have been done with the Social Secuity monies...gone...

2. QUOTE: I just read the Russian President's rebuttle to Sec. Rice's remarks above, and that boy needs a serious education into what we're really all about. As does his "boss".END QUOTE

I would say it is the US who needs an education...or less of one and more comon sense.

3. Why all the biblical referencing, is it some masochistic desire for the end times or ignorance bliss for a Waldens Pond? Theoretically by finite account, there will never be peace -- only in the end. Is that what you want? There will never be a WHAT IF THEY STARTED A WAR AND NO BODY CAME! If you can do that, then you have a chance..and Hope is the currency of the poor and oppressed. Action is the currency of change is it not? Praying did not stop Hitler or Husain. In fact not one Religious church put its hand out to help the Hewbrews in WWII. Where was the Catholic Church then, they knew, we knew, England knew, France knew, Poland knew and so on...or was the delay to provide for Biblical referencing as truistic, a matter of fact to maintain some control over the mass. It is something to think about -- the continued misuse of Gods word for control.

The objective is to work toward democratic improvement within any given social environment as it exists first and take the necessary ACTIONS, not hopes.

Russia is an Empire, always was, always will be and more democratic now than ever. It is simply establishing the parameters of their new rule, not some Catholic Church letters of magic from a proposed apparition -- be realistic please and not make attempts to re create a false positive so we can control by Fear and make poor decisions premised on mysticisms. How many more people have to die or lives runied in the name of Religion not God.

Russia is Russia and bested us in every respect. Face it and move on not demean them.

This does not mean I am anti democratic; but, when you lose a game, you lose. We sound like poor losers nothing else. Get ready for the next game. It is not over -- never will be, thank God...a world without end.

John
|
Greece
September 21, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee

Great points Joe. Although I think that the Russian invasion has nothing to do with religion or God, still your post analyzes clearly many other conflicts of the planet.

The "religion-God" factor is a vital "analysis filter" for the evaluation and interpretation of many wars and conflicts. Do you think that there is also a "religious axon" behind Russia's new "Foreign Policy"?

P.S. Folks in the Blog, have you read the 2008 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. Very interesting!
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/index.htm

Zharkov
|
United States
September 22, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The former US Secretary of State Colin Powell admits that the latest Caucasus war was started by Georgia.

He was speaking on the CNN together with another former State Department head, Henry Kissinger.

Mr Kissinger advised the administration to tone down criticism of Russia and focus on cooperation with it.

I suppose you think that they don't know what they are talking about and need to be re-educated by State Department bloggers, but they are saying what many other senior officials from former administrations have been saying for months. Listen to them.

Wim
|
Netherlands
September 22, 2008

Wim in the Netherlands writes:

I disagree with much of the speech:

"Russia was baiting them": since Georgia tried to take Abkhazia last april Russia has consistently followed apolicy of deterrence. When they had a military exercise last summer in the Caucasus they openly said that they were exercising to be able to fastly bring troops into South Ossetia. They would have kept this secret if they wanted to set a trap.

There is also the report of the OSCE observers that tells us (as general public we have to do with the interview in the Spiegel) that the Georgian action was well prepared (it must have taken months) and can certainly not be explained as a reaction to recent Osstian aggression. Also the casualty counts from the clashes before the war showed that both sides suffered about the same number of casualties, what suggests that Georgia had a more active role in these clashes than is often suggested.

Given Russia's policy of deterrence I don't think that their reaction in Georgia was disproportional. They had to do something that would make Georgia think twice before it tried again.

As for the recognition of the two regions: it looks like Russia is closely following the behaviour of the US regarding Kosovo. Just like me and many other people and countries they consider unilateral independence of Kosovo unjustified and unfair. By copying the American behaviour in great details (including asking for the departure of Saakashvili) they make a caricature of the US policy and doing so they stress their demand for the same rules for everyone.

Jonathan
|
Texas, USA
September 22, 2008

Jonathan in Texas writes:

This is just a prime example of what this administration is all about. Georgia stirs up the pot and the United States backs the country that killed peacemakers because it is a democracy. Although Russia has not been in the right either in the past, I feel the US stance on this issue and their approach is horrible.

Why not take a middle stance on this with Russia and Georgia? Why single out Russia? Why even get involved? We have an economy that has been at its worst since the depression, we are spending trillions of dollars in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and we want to subliminally threat another country. Real smart.

Good for Colin Powell speaking up. Whatever happened to working with countries? We might not like the way they run their country but working with it would reduce tension, build good or decent relations and reduce the likely hood of war.

I disagree with all of this speech and I am counting down the days that a new administration takes over.

John
|
Greece
September 22, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@Zharkov

I wonder if you read the posts...Z, or you are simply interested in "creating" yours.

"On August 7th, following repeated violations of the ceasefire in South Ossetia, including the shelling of Georgian villages, the Georgian government launched a major military operation into Tskhinvali and other areas of the separatist region. Regrettably, several Russian peacekeepers were killed in the fighting.

These events were troubling. But the situation deteriorated further when Russia's leaders violated Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity -- and launched a full scale invasion across an internationally-recognized border. Thousands of innocent civilians were displaced from their homes. Russia's leaders established a military occupation that stretched deep into Georgian territory. And they violated the ceasefire agreement that had been negotiated by French and EU President Sarkozy.

Other actions of Russia during this crisis have also been deeply disconcerting: its alarmist allegations of "genocide" by Georgian forces, its baseless statements about U.S. actions during the conflict, its attempt to dismember a sovereign country by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, its talk of having "privileged interests" in how it treats its independent neighbors, and its refusal to allow international monitors and NGOs into Abkhazia and South Ossetia, despite ongoing militia violence and retribution against innocent Georgians."

(part of the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speech on U.S.-Russian relations to the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC.)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 22, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Zharkov wrote: "I suppose you think that they don't know what they are talking about and need to be re-educated by State Department bloggers,..."

http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/conf_coll_symp_symposia/48

"SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: More to the point as to the dangers in the world. I have lived through the Cold War and I have no nostalgia for it. What I think, though, in a strange way it was more rational and there was the sense that there was some control over how we dealt with nuclear weapons."

I am a member of one of America's original nuclear families who was born into a world on the brink of self destruction. I think I bloody well know what I'm talking about when I said this:

"We take the attitude that these things are managable with the illusion of self control. In an insane world that can self exterminate, Murphy's Law rules."

Murphy's 1st law states: "Anything that can go wrong will, eventually."

And yeah, the former secretaries would be wise to listen to a dipnote blogger's perspective.

Come to think of it, isn't this why the blog was created in the first place? So DoS could get that direct imput from the public at large?

Well then, I'll go so far as to issue a formal public invitation to all five of them and we can have a learning experience right here on this blog. No disrespect intended, I mean this quite litterally.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 22, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Reality check of the week:

http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2008/BurnsTestimony080917a.pdf

John
|
Greece
September 23, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A.

Zharkov, you have to admit that "coach Eric" in NM, once again, gave you a "3 point shot"!

(although you obviously prefer Russian basketball)? This is the "American Basketball School": The Best in the World! Because it's REAL!

I would suggest you to call a Timeout and take a deep breath, as long as "new evidence are coming right after" the "Soviet commercial break".

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 23, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Dipnote Bloggers,

The Soviet Cold War era legacy speaks for itself:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/08/30/btsc.chance.nukes/index.html...

I would caution anyone before viewing the graphic nature of this report, it's a wake up call.

The global community needs to consider the long term genetic effects on overall human evolution from the total amount of radiation from all sources already released into the global environment over the last 60 + years.

Can the freindly folks that brought Chernobyl to Europe's door be trusted not to bring the same to the Mideast when building a nuclear plant for Iran in a major earthquake zone?

Can this be called a "responsible" act on the part of a major nuclear power? The IAEA?

Does a state sponsor of terrorism have the same rights to peaceful use of atomic energy that a nation abiding by the rule of law does?

Is "Responsibility to Protect" simply an flap jaw excercise in legal semantics, or being ingnored altogether in it's vast applications in preference for what the lowest common denominator of consensus definition is in the UN?

One thing is a fact, we've let the genie out of the bottle and one can't uninvent something.

Someone please re-educate me if nessesary, but in my book this is not a "rational" way to plan for the future.

My invitation stands to the former Secretaries of State, as well as the current.

And I'd really like some answers.

Wim
|
Netherlands
September 23, 2008

Wim in the Netherlands writes:

John in Greece wrote "Neither I know something, nor I have any info, but I feel (and fear) that the next "Putin Co & Associates""investment" will be in Ukraine."

If you follow the opinion polls in Ukrain you will see that that is the last thing the Ukrainians are worried about. A huge majority is against NATO membership. On the Georgian war the population is about evenly divided between pro-Russians and pro-Georgians with most people neutral.

It is for me a riddle why Ms. Rice is so supportive of the Ukrains NATO bid. It is a pet project of president Yushchenko whose approval rating is in the single digits. Most Ukrainians are against it. I think we shouldn't pay too much attention to Yushchenko's stories about Russians threats. They are the swan song of a politician who has lost all contact with reality.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 23, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece, Zharkov had nothing to do with a "buzzer beater" from the half-court if that's what my post was.

We're all lucky to be in "overtime" as it is.

I for one am not about to let folks take any more chances with my children's future for lack of understandoing this.

The family legacy has been sworn by me upon solemn oath to them to end this here, with my generation.

So long as I take breath John, I have home court advantage when taking long shots with that kind of insight.

Honorable challenge to join an essential debate has been issued.

If they do not see fit to do so, that is unfortunate for all of us.

Because it means they have no idea how to end this insanity.

John
|
Greece
September 23, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Wim in the Netherlands

I got the only accurate opinion poll results concerning the ex-Soviet countries you are referring to:

Ukraine
24 August 1991 (Independence from Soviet Union)

Georgia
9 April 1991 (Independence from Soviet Union)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 23, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Wim in the Netherlands wrote:

"It is for me a riddle why Ms. Rice is so supportive of the Ukrains NATO bid."

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/09/20080923-5.html

"We must stand united in our support of other young democracies, from the people of Lebanon struggling to maintain their hard-won independence, to the people of the Palestinian Territories, who deserve a free and peaceful state of their own. We must stand united in our support of the people of Georgia. The United Nations Charter sets forth the "equal rights of nations large and small." Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words. Young democracies around the world are watching to see how we respond to this test. The United States has worked with allies in multilateral institutions like the European Union and NATO to uphold Georgia's territorial integrity and provide humanitarian relief. And our nations will continue to support Georgia's democracy.

In this chamber are representatives of Georgia and Ukraine and Lebanon and Afghanistan and Liberia and Iraq, and other brave young democracies. We admire your courage. We honor your sacrifices. We thank you for your inspiring example. We will continue to stand with all who stand for freedom. This noble goal is worthy of the United Nations, and it should have the support of every member in this assembly."

-President Bush, United Nations, September 23, 2008

----

Wim, do you question our help in liberating your nation from the Nazi in WW2? Probably not I'd guess.

Seems to me the Russians have no appreciation for why we helped them. Thus no appreciation for our intent in supporting freedom in today's world.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 24, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

@ JOHN IN GREECE... Sorry, I do not get on every day as many of you seem to. I am in a physical conditioning period.

Quote: The "religion-God" factor is a vital "analysis filter" for the evaluation and interpretation of many wars and conflicts. Do you think that there is also a "religious axon" behind Russia's new "Foreign Policy" --End Quote--

I believe Russia simply views Religion as a tool, no more, no less; as did Constantine long ago. Constantine was NOT some mighty Christian himself at any time, including his end; but, he did see where it could be used to enslave people without chains as the belief philosophy was no threat to his Empire. The fact it offered Hope to the oppressed was a relatively cheap fix when you think about it, plus it gave the people communal impute without threat to the State.

Religion can be viewed much like a medium sized company which can actually benefit from a Union. It loses much of the unprofitable mid level management cost involving personal as job description, conflicts, etc. The people believe they have a voice; but unfortunately today end up with another management cost that they incur, not the company. What has changed really? Even in the Union State, the people have lost much of their voice by deligation to misrepresentation.

There is an exception here in the US. We let Religion run amuck with blatant violations of Civil Laws and Common Laws on State and Federal levels as well Constitutional law. They even commit open Violations of Freedom FROM RELIGIOUS PROSCUTION, which was an interregnal part of our Bill of Rights. How did this happen? Did everyone forget Franklin was not the only one who took the Venus? The right to religious freedom is not in place when it violates any ones civil liberties in anyway. I should know, having personally experienced many aspects of Religions rights in America which circumvent Federal and State Laws as well as personal freedoms. It has become general knowledge world wide and is now a weakness, not strength due to the abusive nature resulting from the power delegated. Islam uses this as well as the Christian State does noting thier violations.

Religion in America, beyond communal social impute, very seldom has anything to do with GOD. This is a well established fact. Even Hoover recognized the Communists were using this format here in America back in the 50s. It Seems they are winning by default in the long haul. General Boykins proved this fact in the 70s and it was simply overlooked. So from the 50s to now, where does God actualy stand in America? In the Church? Which ones? So, what then is Religion would be the question and leave God out of it.

Again, yes, Religion is a vital impute factor for the understanding and manipulation of the hoi poi of any country or social structure -- after all, if the individual reflects his or her society, what is one of the first questions any Psychologist ask? What Religion are you? It is an identification tag showing the indoctrination methodology of the id and ego, followed with where were you brought up to show its relevance to the surroundings. Again an identification tag of where you in or out of the majority, etc...why would society be any different?

The world is a mess today not because of the Lack of Religion, but the misuse of it and the Lack of GOD in Decision Making...not Religion in decision making.

Fe fi fo fum...guess I'm just dumb...

John
|
Greece
September 24, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Joe

Among others, you made me think Joe: U.S.A. is really blessed and inspired from the Bill of Rights. That's why both of us can discuss all these religion matters, enjoying personal freedom other people in the planet can not have.

Thank you very much for your reply.

I totally agree with you that we should leave God out of it. "Religions" is one thing, God is something else. After all, in God we trust!

However, another quite important parameter is that here -- in the States and the rest of the Western World -- we have the chance to discuss these issues (God, religion etc.) democratically without any danger. If we were in Iran, Syria, Sudan and so many other countries that are full of "religious chauvinism", both of us discussing these matters would now be dead, kidnapped, imprisoned or who knows what else. Due to the "Ayatolahs" as Eric wisely says.

P.S.: I wish you the best with your physical conditioning, because we really need your sharp brain in the Blog. Best regards!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 25, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Russia's religious components are not elements of its single minded fanaticism with an idea.

How that manifests is in their hands for certain.

A people with a tradition of adventure and conquest should be nudged towards the adventure side of it.

Offers more options.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
September 28, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Here is an article from the Moscow Times...Sept 26..on Georgia...It encompasss a good view of how Russia view things in general right now, it also give a decisive fact we ignore when we talk about OUR Allies....well, they have to answer to their people...you will see a notation that Germany relies on Russia for 44 percent of its energy needs, why help us? Where is our leverage? Russias fate is as Russia wants it, pure and simple, we have no lattitude, no leverage, no allies in reality...we won an appearent battle, but certainly lost the war in the long run.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1010/42/371219.htm

We need to rebuild this country from within and work more dilligently to put our hands out to everyone and cut off the ones that are a direct threat where we can and as soon as we can or all these discussions will be moot.

.

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