The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The US to the left, China to the right….

August 28, 2008

Russia encircled by enemies plotting against it?

CNN’s summary of its interview with Putin, passed along without comment:

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of its presidential election candidates.

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate — Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush — although he presented no evidence to back it up.

“U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict,” Putin said. “They were acting in implementing those orders doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader.”

Medvedev, meanwhile, thanks the SCO for its support. But Kommersant’s analysis is less charitable:

The RF President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed gratitude to his colleagues in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for understanding and objective evaluation of peacekeeping efforts of Russia. Medvedev made the respective statement during the SCO summit in Dushanbe.

The common standing of SCO nations, Medvedev said, is a strong signal to those attempting to justify Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia.

Meanwhile, the experts didn’t miss that the response of the SCO nations to Russia was too cautious all understanding notwithstanding. Except Russia, none of them confronted the West and recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Nowadays, the standing of China appears the most advantageous. In the new political environment, that state will endeavor to strengthen in Central Asia, aggressively promoting projects in ex-republics of the Soviet Union.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.