US Presidential candidates on Russia

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12 Responses

  1. Jim Peterson says:

    One more reason to vote for Ron Paul.

    Great blog.

    Incidentally, Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo and two little known Democrats were the only ones to vote against the IMBRA law which forces American men to be background checked just to be able to say hello to Russian women online. The law, which dishonestly calls internationally oriented dating sites “marriage brokers”, takes away the right of Russian women to broadcast their personal contact information in the manner they see fit. Instead, the US federal government is their nanny, regulating whom they can communicate with and when. The law is really about older American women implementing protectionism against young and beautiful competition.

  2. Sean says:

    Andy, you forgot to add the one where McCain called Putin the “President of Germany.”

  3. James says:

    It really doesn’t matter too much about what the candidates say publicly about Russia, but rather who is advising them. Obama, privately my favorite candidate (and that’s my personal opinion only), has a secret weapon in terms of a Russia advisor: Zbigniew Brzezinski

    Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing remains to be debated, but if the junior senator somehow managed to snap down the top office, Russia most certainly would not be ignored by ole Zig.

  4. Andy says:

    Sean – thanks, I’d missed that. How disappointing – of all the Republican candidates, McCain was by far my favourite. I might have to go for Huckabee now – at least he has a good eye for the ladies.

    James – Obama would make an interesting President, for sure. Generally I’ve been quite impressed by his foreign policy approach (or, at least, the policies of his advisors!) towards Russia. Sometimes dull is the way to go. I think he’d be a less divisive President than, say, Hillary, and he would probably give America renewed confidence in itself – whether that would be good for Russia or not, I’m not sure…

  5. colleen says:

    MT: “Michael McFaul, a Russia expert and political science professor at Stanford, is leading Obama’s Russia team.”

    Mcfaul, with Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, wrote one of the most misleading anti-Russian article in recent memory (The Myth of the Authoritarian Model:
    How Putin’s Crackdown Holds Russia Back, Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2008).

  6. Russophile says:

    Good summary of the comments. I don’t expect much out of Hillary in in relation to Russia because her husband still thought Yeltsin was fantastic all the way to the end. I am not sure that he will ever admit to being blind to the chaos, theft, or mismanagement.

    I know that Fred Thompson already dropped out of the race, but he had a few words to say about the Soviet Union — in present tense. He like so many other politicians, both Russian and American, are still fighting old battles. The problem is that when both sides do this, they create the very problem they are trying to avoid.

  7. Andy says:

    I know that Fred Thompson already dropped out of the race

    I originally drafted this post a couple of weeks ago, with the intention of releasing it today. I figured that most of the candidates (Edwards & Giuliani especially) would at least hang on until then.

    Happily (for me, if not for Russia) the drop out candidates seemed to have reasonably sensible things to say about Russia – not very entertaining at all…

  8. Harold DuFresne says:

    I’m sorry Russophile but some of the old battles are still relevant, increasingly so under Putin.

    I’m shocked that Clinton discounts the importance of Russia’s domestic policy, including is human rights record. No free democracy has ever made war on another free democracy, so that has to indicate why russia’s freedom and democracy is of international interest.

    The russian media is state dominated, the judiciary is a tool of the state and elections are a joke.

    Britain’s Guardian has a piece about the example of Vasily Alexanyan that makes that point well

  9. Conformist says:

    “No free democracy has ever made war on another free democracy”
    indeed, but has ever a “not free democracy” made war on a “free democracy”?
    otherwise I have a dozen of examples to give

  10. Colleen:

    Your Michael McFaul point reflects just how tilted the situation is. Strobe Talbott went through some tough times on getting a Clinton administration appointment, on account that he was considered “soft” on Russia. He’s nothing of the sort. Moreover, one time NSA Zbigniew Brzezinski is comparatively much harder on Russia to Talbott’s “soft”. Brzezinski had an easier time getting the NSA nod. I saw Talbott and Brzezinski work as a tag team during a Carnegie Endowment DC panel discussion against two Russian representatives. It looked as if the Russian representatives were paid to get pounced on.

    Some people out there have the private view that like Condoleezza Rice, McFaul knows better, but goes with where the wind is blowing. Some years ago on NPR, McFaul replied to me that he didn’t agree with much of what Brzezinski says.

    Concerning Russia among the Dems, there’s little apparent difference. Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke are not sweet at all towards Russia and Serbia. I understand that those two are involved with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In comparison, Brzezinski and McFaul are arguably more moderate (though not by much, if at all). McFaul and Brzezinski have said that Russia will be okay in the long run and that it should be part of a Western alliance system. Some of their reasoning is questionable (put mildly). We aren’t dealing with the best options, thereby making it a tough call. All in all, is there anything fundamentally different between Obama and Clinton?

    Here’s a not so distant link showing a list of advisers for the candidates:

  11. colleen says:

    Hi, I’m ecstatic to report that Gary Hart is supporting Obama and could be poised to become Secretary of Defence or National Security Advisor. I have no link to provide, but I’m seriously wishing and hoping. In fact, it will be a perfect match IMO.

    Here are two articles that Hart wrote in 2007 that indicate how he will steer Russia policy:


  1. February 5, 2008

    […] Light examines “what each of the remaining US presidential candidates has to say about Russia and about our […]