News Release

Putin and Bush: Below the Surface


At his news conference with President Vladimir Putin this afternoon, President Bush talked of a shared commitment to “peace and progress” along with “free markets and the rule of law.” As the two leaders continue to meet this week, the following analysts are available for interviews:

Co-author of Revolution From Above: The Demise of the Soviet System and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Kotz said today: “There are reasons to be wary of the newly developed closer relationship between the Putin and Bush administrations…. The tactical importance of Russian help for the administration’s war in Afghanistan has led Bush to softpedal any criticism of the brutal Russian military tactics in Chechnya. This reinforces the impression that American criticism of ‘evil’ in the world depends strongly on the context — that is, on whether the perpetrator is a government that the U.S. desires to befriend or to oppose. Even worse, implicit American acceptance of Russian brutality in Muslim Chechnya lends support to the charge that the U.S. is leading a war against Islam. Russia’s recent Chechnya experience has lessons for the United States. Following several apartment bombings in Russia attributed to Chechen terrorists, Russian forces re-entered Chechnya behind brutal artillery bombardments. The years of lawlessness and chaos in Chechnya during the period of de facto independence had made many Chechens ready to welcome the Russians back. However, Russia’s military tactics outraged and alienated the local population, undermining the Russians’ aim of effectively regaining control of the breakaway province. There is a danger that the U.S. may be making similar miscalculations, if American military tactics outrage Muslims around the world, dissipating the sympathy for America and the support for anti-terrorist action engendered by the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Director of the Downwinders organization, Truman is an authority on nuclear weapons. He said today: “Bush and Putin are outlining reductions in the number of deployed nuclear weapons, but at the same time, Bush is leaving the door open for an arms race. As Bush was speaking, the U.S. government was boycotting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty conference in New York. Weapons cuts and eliminating the ability to produce weapons should go hand in hand. What we say and what we do are different — that’s why we have an arms race in South Asia.”

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Burroughs is executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy. He said today: “Bush’s announced intention is to maintain about 2,000 operational long-range nuclear weapons for the next decade…. [This] definitely does not fulfill the legal obligation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of the United States and other nuclear-armed countries to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.”
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International coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Gagnon said today: “Bush’s statement that we have ‘different points of view on ABM’ reflects the reality that the U.S. still intends to ‘break out’ of the ABM treaty and ultimately deploy the destabilizing and costly Star Wars program. The U.S. intends to ‘control and dominate’ space. A new space-based arms race will ensue.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167