Feature

Vladimir Putin's cold war

How to avoid, or win, a new conflict with Moscow

What happened
Vice President Dick Cheney reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia during a trip to the former Soviet republic. A day earlier, Washington proposed sending $1 billion to help Georgia rebuild after its brief war with Russia. (International Herald Tribune)

What the commentators said
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has put us on the brink of a new cold war by attacking Georgia, said The Washington Times in an editorial, and he may have saved the West’s “collective bacon” by doing it. Now we have a “unifying threat around which to rally the Free World” in the post-Soviet world.

The aid package will help Georgia, said The New York Times in an editorial, and signal to Russia that “the West will not be intimidated into abandoning a struggling democracy.” But Cheney’s visit makes us “especially nervous,” because encouraging “more adventurism” from Georgia will make matters worse.

Putin clearly thinks the Cold War is still on, said David Ignatius in The Washington Post, so “the next president will face a serious problem.”  John McCain’s approach is “aggressive and confrontational,” while Barack Obama’s is “deliberative and diplomatic,” and “there’s no obvious answer” as to whose path is better.

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