Wednesday, July 12, 2006

US - Russian Differences at the G-8 Conference

Ariel Cohen on the upcoming G-8 conference:

The G-8 meeting on July 15 and the Bush–Putin summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, may mark the most serious tests of U.S.–Russian and East–West relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mutually amassed grievances have led some in Washington to question whether President George W. Bush should attend and whether Russia should remain in the G-8.

The United States has been highly critical of devel­opments in Moscow’s domestic and foreign policy, such as increased restrictions on democratic free­doms within Russia and increasingly assertive inter­ventions in the political and economic affairs of former Soviet republics.

Russia, for its part, opposes discussion of further NATO enlargement to include Georgia and Ukraine and fears that Western support for Russian pro-democracy nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) might one day provoke a “color” revolution in Mos­cow. Russia also blames the U.S. for blocking its acces­sion to the World Trade Organization (WTO), despite Russia’s flagrant violations of intellectual property rights and severe limitations on foreign investment.

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