The administration of George Bush was marked by such incompetence that it is rather easy to blame just about every problem on planet earth at the doorstep of the bumbler from Texas. Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin charges it was Bush who is responsible for the current crisis over supplies of gas and his nation’s dispute with the Ukraine. He believes the Bush administration created tension in the region by pushing for construction of missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Reports that Obama has no commitment to the Bush plan have led Putin to be “cautiously optimistic” concerning establishing positive relations with the United States.
The Russian government is still angry at attempts to push NATO eastward and include the Ukraine in the organization. Putin regards such efforts as deliberately provocative and this is a major factor in creating tension in the region. Talks between Russia and the Ukraine over gas broke down in December.
Step one for President Obama is to end any further efforts to construct missile bases. Step two is sitting down with Putin and dealing with a variety of issues including the gas dispute with the Ukraine.