Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Read the whole thing.  Here are some gems:

SPIEGEL: The US government claims that it warned Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili against taking military action. But wasn't the whole thing only too convenient for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin?

Schröder: These are speculations in which I prefer not to participate. I assume that no one in the Moscow leadership has an interest in military conflicts. There are enough internal problems in Russia that need to be solved. For instance, corruption and abuse of authority must be addressed. Russia has plenty of deficits, an issue I've addressed many a time. President (Dmitry) Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin are addressing these problems -- together, by the way, in friendship and mutual respect, not in competition with one another, as journalistic fortune-tellers often imply.

SPIEGEL: That may well be, but something else is now at stake: Russia has never overcome the loss of its superpower status, and in recent years it has felt cornered and humiliated by NATO. During the wars in the Balkans, the Iraq invasion by the "Coalition of the Willing" under Washington's leadership, the Kosovo declaration of independence ...

Schröder: ... don't forget the development of an American missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic ...

SPIEGEL: ... the Kremlin has been forced to look on. Isn't it possible that an economically and militarily strengthened Moscow now sees US friend Saakashvili as the best possible opportunity to retaliate against the West? And that Putin wants to assert imperial claims?

Schröder: In my view, there have indeed been serious mistakes made by the West in its policy toward Russia. Can we conclude that this bears some relationship to the recent events in the Caucasus, as Russia's response, so to speak, to the Georgian provocation? I think it's wrong to combine these two notion

SPIEGEL: You don't share the newly erupted fear among many in the West of a "Russian threat?

Schröder: No, not at all. There is a perception of Russia in the West that has very little to do with reality.


SPIEGEL: The Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, followed up by saying: "Today we're all Georgians."

Schröder: I am not.


SPIEGEL: Robert Kagan, an idol of the neoconservatives and still the Republicans' leading foreign policy thinker, has defined the day of Russia's invasion of Georgia as the beginning of renewed territorial conflicts between the major powers and "as a turning point no less significant than Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell."

Schröder: I read that, but it too means nothing to me. Kagan, after all, was one of the men who strongly advised intervening in Iraq. The consequences were not pleasant, neither for America nor Europe. Perhaps one should simply not listen to his advice.


SPIEGEL: This sounds very optimistic. You don't see a remake of the Cold War developing?

Schröder: No. At least it would not be in the Russian leadership's interest. I am completely opposed to demonizing Russia. And I believe that Moscow will soon see the need, once again, for greater integration into the international community.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 01:29:57 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series