George and Vlad
George W. Bush's upcoming summit with his soul-buddy Vladimir Putin is a serious test of just about every strategic claim of the Bush administration.
During the late campaign, both Bush and his running-mate Dick Cheney suddenly showed interest in the "loose nukes" issue, suggesting that terrorist access to nuclear materials was the biggest single threat to our national security. Yet there is no real evidence that Bush has ever made this a major issue in his discussions with Putin, despite the former Soviet Union's unequalled status as the leaky valve in the world's system of preventing sale of nuclear materials to anybody with the cash to buy them.
Similarly, Russia's headlong plunge towards quasi-fascism is a rather conspicuous challenge to Bush's claim that America is spreading freedom and democracy into every corner of the globe.
Will Bush make either of these issues--one of immediate, urgent importance to our national security, the other of long-term importance--a really big, visible deal in his discussions with Putin? Or will he settle for the usual symbolic gestures that signify no real commitments from Moscow?
We'll soon see if the Cowboy President who's allegedly afraid of no one is willing to stand up to this challenge, or will again show he's a virtual gunslinger who's afraid to take risks that don't excite the viewers of Fox News. --