Hudson Institute on USA-Russia Relations

The Hudson Institute has released a new report on the eve of the Bush-Putin summit at the American president’s residence in Kennebunkport, Maine. Four respected experts from the seven-member study group issued a joint statement that led with the remark, “Russia is reverting to patterns of behavior characteristic of the Soviet Union.” The report’s recommendations include:

  • The U.S. should emphasize to Russians that, although it supports democratic institutions, the core of the U.S. position is support for moral values. This means opposing criminality, corruption, the assassination of political opponents and the reckless waste of lives in hostage situations.
  • Russian relations should be based on complete frankness. Self censorship on the part of the U.S. has not induced Russia to moderate its international behavior.

While we agree with their general conclusions about the condition of human rights and freedom in Russia, we want to make one thing clear. Russia does not need lectures from America on moral values or anything else, certainly not from a Bush administration with rock-bottom credibility on these matters. Instead, Russians, and the rest of the un-free world, would like to see America and other western democracies live up to their own rhetoric and rebuild that lost credibility. Hypocrisy is poison when it allows the US to promote democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan while saying little about Russia. And how credible would American criticism be when Bush insists he and “Vladimir” are still good pals and Russia is still welcomed in the G-7? Lead by consistent example and high moral standards, not by lecture.