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2009.11.01 (Sun)



Relationship Between Bush and Putin Getting Weaker

After their first meeting in 2001,President Bush was convinced Mr.Putin was a man he could trust.
Bush:I look the man in the eye,Ifound him very straight-forward and trustworthy...I was able to get a sence of his soul.

That personal bond grew stronger three months later when the Russian president was the first foreign leader to call Mr.Bush after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington.Russia quickly became a valuable ally in the war on terrorism.

Andrew Kuchins,the Moscow Center Director at the Carengie Endowment for International Peace,believe this was the high watermark in the relationship.

Andrew Kuchins:We had our peak in cooperation of course in the war on terrorism,the efforts to take out the Taliban in Afghaniistan in 2001-2002.There was quite extensive intelligence sharing around that.Since then the coorperation has fallen off a bit.

In stark contrast to that early cooperation,there have been a number of sharp disagreements since,most notably over Moscow's stanhd with France and Germany against the U.S. led invation of Iraq.Moscow and Washingdon also traded charges of interfering with the Ukrainian election.

Jonh Hulsman:I think the romance is over.

Jonh Hulsman studies European issues at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.He says the authoritarian steps taken by Mr,Putin,including suppressing the independent media,seizing the Yukos oil company and consoildating political power,make it unlikely Russia will be a close,permanent ally of the United States.

Still,Mr Bush would like to see the bilateral relationship mature.

But achieving that could be a challange.Earlier this month,Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with her Russian counterpart in what was described by some present as a "contentious"metting.Ms.Rice reportedly told Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Moscow's crackdown on dissent was making Russian-American relations,in her words,"more difficult."



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