Scott Kleeb notes a direct relationship between an authoritarian Russia and a lack of diplomatic leverage.
Transcript:The invasion of Georgia by Russia was a problem, it’s a problem not just for Georgia or not just for the West which Georgia was having a deeper relationship with the West and that’s part of what precipitated this, but it’s also a problem for Russia. If you look at the Russia now versus the Russia that we all hope it would be after the fall of the Wall and the dissolving of the Soviet Union, the Russia that we have now is a very different Russia than any of us would have hoped for. It is a Russia that is less democratically secure. It’s a Russia that is more authoritarian than it’s ever been in our lifetimes, and that’s not good when you project for another 20 years. Now why is that? Two of the most important places in the world, and it’s not just because of Russia’s resource base, tremendous oil and timber reserves as well as mineral reserves, but it’s also because if you look at two areas that are becoming increasingly important for Americans security as well as world peace and world security and world growth economically are what? China and Europe and America’s relationship to both of those areas. What’s it between them? What’s the pivot on which that relationship is going to last? And that is Russia. The more direct, the more authoritarian Russia gets, the weaker and the less secure the relationships to either the West through Europe or the East through China’s gonna be, and so Russia is that pivot. And so we need to make it clear to the Russians that their direction is wrong, and it’s wrong not just for us, it’s wrong for them too. And we can do that through certain tactics. For instance, make sure they want WTO membership right now, then we need to make sure that any discussion of them entering the WTO’s is contingent on them not acting as they’ve acted, that we can put increasing pressures in a number of ways, economic and political.