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In Latvia, Bush Lectures Putin on the Joys of Democracy
NY Times ^ | May 8, 2005 | ELISABETH BUMILLER

Posted on 05/07/2005 10:39:23 PM PDT by neverdem

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
President Bush spoke during a news conference in Riga, Latvia, with presidents Valdas Adamkus, left, of Lithuania, Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia and Arnold Ruutel of Estonia. Mr. Bush called for "free and open and fair" elections in Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe.

MAASTRICHT, the Netherlands, May 7 - President Bush used the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat to warn President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Saturday that "no good purpose is served by stirring up fears and exploiting old rivalries" in the former Soviet republics on his borders.

"All the nations that border Russia will benefit from the spread of democratic values, and so will Russia itself," Mr. Bush said in a speech in Riga, Latvia, in the Small Guild House, a neo-gothic meeting hall in the capital's Old City. "Stable, prosperous democracies are good neighbors, trading in freedom and posing no threat to anyone."

The president pointedly said, "The United States has free and peaceful nations to the north and south of us" and "we do not consider ourselves to be encircled."

Mr. Bush then flew to the Netherlands for a brief overnight stay before a meeting and dinner with Mr. Putin at the Russian presidential dacha outside Moscow on Sunday, which is taking on the appearance of a showdown as Mr. Bush has spoken repeatedly of the pain that Baltic nations like Latvia endured under the Soviet occupation after World War II. Mr. Bush is in Europe to mark the anniversary of Hitler's defeat; he will join Mr. Putin for celebrations in Red Square on Monday.

In his speech on Saturday, Mr. Bush seemed certain to irritate Mr. Putin further when he warned him as he had in February about retreating on democracy. "All free and successful countries have some common characteristics - freedom of worship, freedom of the press, economic liberty, the rule of law and the limitation of power through checks and balances," Mr. Bush said.

In the last year the United States has grown concerned over Mr. Putin's prosecution of business leaders, his increasing control over the press and his involvement in the affairs of Georgia and other neighbors.

Mr. Putin has not reacted positively to such criticism from Mr. Bush in the past, and this week he told the CBS News program "60 Minutes" that Mr. Bush had little business lecturing him about democracy when the 2000 presidential election in the United States was decided by the Supreme Court.

In a joint news conference with Baltic leaders in Riga earlier on Saturday, Mr. Bush put more pressure on Mr. Putin by calling for "free and open and fair" elections in Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe, whose president, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, is backed by Mr. Putin. Mr. Bush also did not dispute the premise of a question from a reporter implying that the United States was behind revolutionary change in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

"The idea of countries helping others become free, I hope that would be viewed as not revolutionary, but rational foreign policy, as decent foreign policy, as humane foreign policy," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush, who is on the second day of a five-day trip to Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia and Georgia, is trying to ensure that his attendance at the celebration on Monday does not endorse the Soviet repression and rise of totalitarianism that followed.

So he leveled his harshest criticism against Russia for acts after World War II, and seemed to lean as much toward a denunciation of postwar Soviet acts as celebratory words for the Nazi defeat.

"As we mark a victory of six decades ago, we are mindful of a paradox," he said. "For much of Germany, defeat led to freedom. For much of Eastern and Central Europe, victory brought the iron rule of another empire. V-E Day marked the end of fascism, but not the end of oppression."

The Russians have been angered by Mr. Bush's trip to Latvia and his scheduled visit to Georgia on Monday and Tuesday, and have accused the United States of meddling in the affairs of their former republics, now independent nations with contentious relationships with Moscow.

Mr. Bush on Saturday seemed likely to anger the Russians even more, because he repeatedly used the word "occupation" to describe the Russian acts in the Baltics - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - after World War II. The Russians have furiously responded that they were invited in.

The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a nonaggression pact in August 1939, just weeks before Germany's invasion of Poland precipitated World War II. Soviet troops joined German forces in occupying Poland, and the next year the Soviet Union also entered Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and incorporated them into the Soviet Union as republics. After the Soviet Union joined the war on the side of the Allies in 1941, German forces overran the three Baltic countries and occupied them, with local support, until Soviet troops retook them near the end of the war.

Mr. Bush added at the news conference, "My hope is that we're now able to move beyond that phase of history into a phase that is embracing democracy and free societies."

But in his speech, Mr. Bush acknowledged that the United States and Britain shared some blame for the annexation of the Baltics, noting that the 1945 Yalta agreement, in which Europe was carved up by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, was in an "unjust tradition" of earlier treaties like the Munich and Molotov-Ribbentrop pacts. He added that "once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable" and that the "captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history."

Mr. Bush sought to tie democratic change in Eastern Europe to the changes he seeks in the Middle East. "Freedom is the only reliable path to peace," he said. "If the Middle East continues to simmer in anger and hopelessness, caught in a cycle of repression and radicalism, it will produce terrorism of even greater audacity and destructive power." He added that "we will not repeat the mistakes of other generations appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability."

Mr. Bush also had stern words for his hosts, the Latvians, telling them they had to respect the rights of the country's ethnic Russian minority, which has objected bitterly to laws requiring the use of the Latvian language in most activities and discrimination in general.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Germany; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Russia; US: District of Columbia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: baltics; belarus; bush; destroagain; estonia; georgewbush; georgia; kyrgyzstan; latvia; lithuania; outpostsoftyranny; poland; putin; ukraine; vladimirvputin; worldwarii
The Russians have furiously responded that they were invited in.

But in his speech, Mr. Bush acknowledged that the United States and Britain shared some blame for the annexation of the Baltics, noting that the 1945 Yalta agreement, in which Europe was carved up by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, was in an "unjust tradition" of earlier treaties like the Munich and Molotov-Ribbentrop pacts. He added that "once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable" and that the "captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs of history."

That should make the dems livid, saying Roosevelt was partly responsible for the Soviet occupation. They linked this story as a blurb on the front page. I'm surprised the Times didn't bury it. Here's Reuter's version.

Bush says Cold War captivity one of great wrongs

1 posted on 05/07/2005 10:39:23 PM PDT by neverdem
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: lizol; jb6

ping!


3 posted on 05/07/2005 11:26:05 PM PDT by Wiz
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To: OneWorldTory
They can learn Latvian or go home, and I'm sure Bush would be singing another tune if it were happening in America.

IIRC, I don't recall Jorge Bush endorsing any of the political movements endorsing English as the official language in this country, English only public education or support for ESL, i.e. English as a Second Language, the latter being maybe the only rational excuse for the Department of Education.

4 posted on 05/07/2005 11:28:14 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; King Prout; ..

From time to time, I’ll ping on noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs. FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.


5 posted on 05/07/2005 11:38:19 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: OneWorldTory

Uh, it IS happening here, and 'ol Jorge Bush isn't doing a damn thing about it. In fact, he is actively encouraging it.


6 posted on 05/07/2005 11:54:08 PM PDT by ambrose (....)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: OneWorldTory; neverdem; ambrose
'm sure Bush would be singing another tune if it were happening in America.

As neverdem and ambrose have indicated, "Él no es."

I don't know the situation there, but I do understand that Baltic peoples felt that the Soviets were far worse than the Nazis as occupiers.

I read a book (forgot the name now) when I was a kid about Estonians under both occupation. The Soviets came in the night -- night after night -- with trucks to remove people in neighborhoods that they thought were undesirable.

8 posted on 05/08/2005 12:20:07 AM PDT by risk
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To: OneWorldTory
The immigrants crossing into California and Texas may be doing so for a number of reasons but certainly not to deliberately destroy the American nation.

May I suggest that you check out the results from a Google of La+Raza+Reconquista+maldef.

9 posted on 05/08/2005 12:36:34 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: OneWorldTory
If the Mexicans have formed their own KGB and are, as I type, shipping SoCal beach boys to gulags then maybe the two situations are analogous.

May I suggest that you check out the results from a Google of Mexican+army+invades+shoot+border+patrol.

11 posted on 05/08/2005 1:12:35 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

I was so surprised to here Bush actually come out and say this. No wonder they hate him so. Now if we culd only tell the truth about the great depression.


12 posted on 05/08/2005 4:34:23 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: CasearianDaoist

here=hear


13 posted on 05/08/2005 4:35:49 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: OneWorldTory

Actually, since Latvia was never a country until 1917, a lot of those Russians had lived there for a long time, since it was part of the Russian Empire. Before that it was part of Sweden, then of Poland-Lithuania, then just of Lithuania, etc.


14 posted on 05/08/2005 9:58:49 AM PDT by jb6 (Truth == Christ)
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To: OneWorldTory
They can learn Latvian or go home, and I'm sure Bush would be singing another tune if it were happening in America.

I guess you've missed our open borders with Mexico and the 17 million Mexican "guests" who've come over. Now remind me what the administration called the Minute Men project that actually upheld the Federal Laws our government refuses to uphold? Oh that's right: vigilantes.

15 posted on 05/08/2005 10:03:11 AM PDT by jb6 (Truth == Christ)
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To: OneWorldTory; A. Pole; Destro; GarySpFc

Most of these "cultural invaders" 1. didn't exactly have a choice themselves and 2. the present generation is made up of the kids and grandkids. Moscow also built up a lot of industry and portage there and other infrastructure that didn't exist in these agrarian countries.


16 posted on 05/08/2005 10:05:44 AM PDT by jb6 (Truth == Christ)
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To: jb6

I hope he told them not to kill anymore Jews in the future.


17 posted on 05/08/2005 10:42:48 AM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting johnathangaltfilms.com and jihadwatch.org)
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To: neverdem

Only the NYT would say that Bush was "lecturing" Putin.

Knowing the President's character .. Bush would never go on a public stage and publically embarrass another leader.

It's only the NYT who would do that - and they have done that to Bush many times. Same old "projection" technique.


18 posted on 05/08/2005 2:10:35 PM PDT by The Final Harvest (President Bush: "America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth")
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