Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a lightening trip to Moscow to meet with President Putin who just returned from a trip to Iran. They are discussing Putin’s reaction to his recent visit and strategies of freeing captured Israel soldiers held by Hizbullah. Putin said “threats against Iran are harmful for international relations because dialogues with states… is always more promising. It is a shorter route toward success than a policy of threats, sanctions, and even, less so, armed pressure. Putin informed Olmert he had talked about the captured Israeli soldiers with President Ahmadinejad of Iran. The Saudi Arabia newspaper, Al Watan reported Hizbullah and Israel negotiators are close to an agreement about freeing the soldiers.
There are many facets of President Putin which repel outside observers such as his actions to destroy democracy in Russia, but, sometimes, the former KGB secret policeman makes more common sense than George Bush. The report by Al-Watan, if accurate, is evidence of negotiation succeeding rather than armed force. Last year Israel launched an attack in Lebanon which resulted in the death of many of their soldiers as well as thousands of Lebanese. The attack failed obtaining the release of the two soldiers, hopefully, negotiation will achieve success. One can only wonder if President Bush will ever learn the power of negotiation.