Prime Minister Putin – er – President Medvedev has laid out five “principles” of foreign policy, according to this article from the BBC. The funny thing about principles is that there things people aspire to, but often times don’t meet. And Russia is no exception. And to be fare, principles often conflict with one another. Let’s see…
3. No isolation
“Russia does not want confrontation with any country; Russia has no intention of isolating itself. We will develop, as far as possible, friendly relations both with Europe and with the United State of America, as well as with other countries of the world.”
You would think that means not overrunning your neighbors with troops, but the Russians may choose to hide behind the next one to get around that little inconvenient fact:
4. Protect citizens
“Our unquestionable priority is to protect the life and dignity of our citizens, wherever they are. We will also proceed from this in pursuing our foreign policy. We will also protect the interest of our business community abroad. And it should be clear to everyone that if someone makes aggressive forays, he will get a response.”
While one cannot argue with the general idea, there are many Russians in neighboring countries who have Russian passports. Is that grounds for invasion? But if it is not, perhaps the next one is:
5. Spheres of influence
“Russia, just like other countries in the world, has regions where it has its privileged interests. In these regions, there are countries with which we have traditionally had friendly cordial relations, historically special relations. We will work very attentively in these regions and develop these friendly relations with these states, with our close neighbours.”
As Bill Cosby would say, “Riiggght.” Read: if you aren’t friendly to us, we’ll invade to “protect our citizens”.
Cuba, are you listening? Still, better to oppose the principles and the bad behavior of one state rather than compound it. Of course that might depend on who makes the decision. President Bush might decide that one more crusade is in order.