I looked the man (Putin) in the eye and saw the enemy | Opinion | Dallas News
Ford had come wearing a wolfskin coat from Alaska. "I'm a President George HW Bush met Mr Gorbachev seven times. US-Russia relations steadily worsened under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, a former Russian. When Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin get together at Bush's have the opportunity to launch a fundamentally new era in US-Russian relations. but George Bush and Vladimir Putin looked more like a couple of Harry The American and Russian presidents were wearing traditional silk.
Years of tension had finally exploded into full-fledged war. As he absorbed the news, Bush noticed that just a few places ahead of him in the receiving line was Putin. Bush chose not to say anything to him right then, reasoning that the ceremony presented the wrong venue for a confrontation over war. Besides, protocol demanded that he deal with Medvedev as a fellow head of state. So he waited until he returned to his hotel to call Moscow. But Bush was dealing with the wrong man.
As the opening ceremony for the Olympics commenced, Bush found himself seated in the same row with Putin, so he had his wife and the king of Cambodia shift down a few seats so that the Russian prime minister could sit next to him. Aware of the television cameras focused on them, Bush tried to avoid causing a scene but told Putin that he had made a serious mistake that would leave Russia isolated if it did not get out of Georgia. Putin countered that Saakashvili was a war criminal who had provoked Moscow.
He and his aides worried that Georgia was just the first stone to fall; if Moscow were allowed to roll over a weak neighbor, then it could next try to seize the Crimea region in Ukraine or even make a move in the Baltics, where it ruled until the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the last thing Bush wanted to do was turn a volatile situation into a Russian-U.
Meetings at the White House during that week of war were unusually emotional. When a junior aide suggested that the United States had to step in, Adm.
In pictures: A history of US-Russian summits - BBC News
Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, interrupted. He did not want another, especially with Russia. Mullen was virtually the only American able to reach his counterpart in Moscow. Most Russian officials were ignoring their phones, but Mullen had perhaps seven or eight conversations with Gen.
Nikolai Makarov, the Russian chief of staff, over the course of a few days, trying to keep the Russians from marching all the way to the Georgian capital.
To avoid framing it as a proxy clash between nuclear-armed superpowers, Bush turned to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who held the rotating presidency of the European Union, and asked him to negotiate a ceasefire.
In the meantime, some in the White House kept looking for possible responses — even military ones. Among the options were bombing the Roki Tunnel to block any further Russian advance into Georgia.
Cheney had received a call from a frantic Saakashvili requesting military equipment such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. The question came up at a meeting after Bush returned from Beijing. Cheney noted the Stinger request from Saakashvili. Finally, Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, cut to the chase.
Bush looked at Hadley as if he were crazy.
At that point, Bush got it. Hadley was protecting him, calling the bluff of Cheney and the other hawks: Were they really ready to go to war with Russia over Georgia? Hadley wanted the principals to give their positions explicitly so they could not later write in their memoirs that they had disagreed with the president.
Picking up on that, Bush posed the question.
The Seduction of George W. Bush
The next day, Sarkozy reached a ceasefire agreement with both sides, but he had been snookered. The Russians took advantage and moved in. They were on the doorstep of Tbilisi, intent on regime change. Bush decided he could no longer sit on the sidelines. He sent Rice to mediate and authorized humanitarian aid to Georgia sent on military cargo planes to make a point.News conference with Bush and Putin
With American military planes on the runway in Tbilisi, he calculated, the Russians would be foolish to attack the Georgian capital.
Rice flew to Paris, Moscow, and Tbilisi to broker a new agreement. Russia agreed to pull out of Georgia but not from its breakaway republics. The war was over, but the relationship between Bush and Putin that started with soul-gazing seven years earlier was irrevocably broken. Bush shelved a civilian nuclear agreement he had spent years negotiating with Putin.
The Seduction of George W. Bush – Foreign Policy
The days of collaboration were over. He was to make back-to-back farewell calls to 13 world leaders, starting with Saakashvili at 7 a. The talking points on the presidential memo consisted in their entirety of the following 14 words: By protocol, he should have called only his formal counterpart, Medvedev.
Over the course of a few minutes, he recalled their cooperation on Iran, North Korea, the Middle East, terrorism, arms control, and economics.
I knew that President Putin was a man with whom I could work George W Bush Certainly they are an odd pairing, the former spy chief and the former baseball team owner. But they do seem to get along. Using his famous Texan turn of phrase, the US President once again stressed the personal as the pupils looked on. Though the Russians are known for their soulfullness, President Putin is perhaps less gushing about his American counterpart. There was no talk of souls from Mr Putin though he did describe Mr Bush as being "right from the heart of Texas", quite a compliment given the president was born in Connecticut.
Texas hospitality All in all, the Russian leader appeared to enjoy his visit to Texas, despite the rain and Crawford's modest amenities. On Wednesday night he'd been on the receiving end of some real Texas hospitality at the president's Prairie Chapel ranch. A proper Texas menu On the menu mesquite-smoked peppered beef tenderloin, southern fried catfish, followed by pecan pie and ice cream.
Though a teetotaller, President Bush toasted his guest, noting that in Texas "you only invite a good friend to your home". In response Mr Putin replied the US was "fortunate at such a critical time in its history to have such a man of character at its helm".