In honor of President Bush heading off soon to the G8 summit hosted by that Russian Bear Vladmir Putin, I thought it might be interesting to compare how different the countries and leaders are. I know they are different, because back in May Dick Cheney really laid into Mr. Putin talking about how naughty he was. It goes without saying that Uncle Dick is always completely fair and honest.
First of all, Mr. Cheney was very worried about the erosion of freedom of the press in Russia. Evidently, when the media there says something that the Russian government does not want to have said, they are subject to political attack by politicians. They've even interfered with the operation of some media outlets. Of course that would never happen here. Our government only attacks the press when they are being unpatriotic. It's the only time they would ever try to intimidate them and threaten them with legal action. Just like that nasty ole New York Times. Some would tell you that Bush and the GOP vilifying the paper was wholly political, but they are just uninformed idiots.
He was worried that Vladimir is trying to restrict the rights of free speech. It seems that when people question Putin's military policies in Chechnya, they are called dupes of the West. That is absolutely nothing like our Administration hinting that people that do not support the war in Iraq are traitors. The White House is dead on with that. There is something wrong with someone that won't support a war just for the hell, (or oil and power grab) of it.
The Vice President additionally informed us that Russia tries to prevent people from practicing freedom of religion. Our government would never do that. When we rounded up all those Muslims right after 9/11 and detained them for long periods of time with no charges, or asked them to come in to chat to the FBI, that was totally different. It wasn't at all intimidation. The reason I know this is because the President kept telling us over and over again how it wasn't a war against Islam; and we all know how this administration is completely guileless about everything.
Mr. Cheney was gravely concerned that Russia is attempting to influence the politics of other countries. Evidently, that bad boy Putin was going to stop Ukraine from stealing natural gas from Russian pipelines and make them pay market prices for the gas that they bothered to actually buy. Ukraine liked to play the U. S. and Russia off of each other.There are complaints that they also support Chechen terrorists, errr, freedom fighters, who like to take tiny children hostage in schools. That is so much different than what we do. When we poured money into Ukraine's election and got OUR guy elected, we weren't interfering. We were promoting Democracy.
Putin also tries to restrict capitalism. He had the nerve to try guys who were just trying to make an honest buck by stealing, errr, buying (at a very ,very discounted price) Russian oil interests during the chaos of Yeltsin. Evidently, he thought they should actually have to pay taxes on those assets that had originally been owned by the Russian people. What a jerk! Our system is far more equitable. The oil companies and speculators use every excuse they can find to raise our gas prices and we pay it. Hey when a butterfly passes gas you never know what that might do to the supply. If that doesn't sound fair to you, you must be a commie, just like that Putin.
Finally of course, there is the war on terror. Mr. Cheney didn't address this, but in light of recent events I figured I would do it for him. You know that I am a loyal fan.
On Monday, the Russian government announced that they killed the Chechen rebel who was considered to be probably the most influential figure in that conflict. Shamil Basayev was the monster that orchestrated the attack on a theater in Moscow, and the siege at a school in Beslan. 331 people died, many of them kids. It goes without saying that this result by Mr. Putin is completely different from our administration's results in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
Yep, if you go through everything point by point, you can see that there is absolutely no comparison at all between our two countries. Aren't you glad?