Conciliatory Putin was in evidence and Bellicose Putin was asleep for a moment as he prepared for a three day NATO Council meeting in Bucharest, Rumania. The Ukraine and Georgia seek membership in NATO which Russia opposes and Putin most probably will offer NATO something in exchange for turning down the membership bid of the east European nations. Dimitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, said: “there will be a talk about the philosophy and basis of partnership. If we are partners we should start to jointly solve problems in the area of security.”
Deputy Foreign Minsiter Alexander Grushko on Friday promised Russian cooperation on Afghanistan if NATO turned down the Ukraine/Georgia membership bid. Russia will most probably allow NATO to ship supplies to Afghanistan across its territory. Putin might also endorse a deal that would reintegrate the breakaway region of Transdnestr into Moldova if Moldova ends its desire to enter NATO.
Putin has a few more months as president of Russia to cement his record as a leader in foreign policy. After the NATO meeting he and Dimitry Medvedev, will meet with President Bush to hammer out some issues between the United States and Russia, particularly the problem created by Bush’s desire to build missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Both leaders would like to leave office with good relations established between their nations.
CIA director Michael Hayden says al-Qaeda is training operatives who “look western” and could enter the United States to conduct terrorist attacks. “They are bringing operatives in that region(northwest area of Pakistan) for training– operatives that, a phrase I wold use, wouldn’t attract your attention if they were going through the customs line at Dulles with you.” The new recruits “look western” and “would be able to come into this country… without attracting the kinds of attention that others might.” Genral Hayden also noted Osama bin Laden was no longere the operational leader of al-Qaeda and had become an”iconic figure” while day-by-day opeerations were more frequently under the direction of the Egyptian militant, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
The sad commentary about this ridiculous statement by the head of the CIA is that he doesn’t even grasp the implication of what he said to the press. It appears an assumption of General Hayden is that people with features from the Middle East would more likely capture your concern if on an airplane with them because, by his definition, they don’t look western and thus are more likely to be terrorists. In my youth, I was told I “looked Jewish” which automatically meant I was less than a real American. Now, we have an official of the Bush administration who believes those who look Middle Eastern are not like the resut of “us.” I have traveled in Israel where sometimes it is difficult separating the native Israel Sabras from Arabs. That is why Mossad agents can sometimes pass for Arabs. Should we be on the lookout for Israelis and Turks, and other-non western looking people?