WARNING: this post will make you think... RUN FAST if you're not ready :)
First of all, thanks Walter for inspiring this post... I hope ya don't mind me snatching your theme once or twice.
If you've been watching the news lately (international if you're not in the US), I think you'd be hard-pressed to not know the tensions are rising once again between the Russians and Americans. President Bush wants to supposedly protect E Europe from "rogue states" like Iran. Yet Russia sees this as a direct instigation against them. President Bush isn't necessarily helping his case. His "The cold war is over" comment came off - at least to me - like a little child crying "Oh c'mon, get over it" without thinking about WHY his friend was offended.
Unlike the US, Russia hasn't long been Russia. For the longest time the now-former Soviet Union was a huge and mighty empire, encompasing much more land than they now have. So it isn't hard to fathom that there are elements within the government, even at high ranks, that still see these now-independent nations as still rightfully theirs. Most of them were independent nations before the end of WW2 and saw the demise of the Soviets as their chance to break out, many before the Berlin Wall collapsed. Others were carved right out of Russian lands. It would be foolish to believe that they would not be wanting to have those lands back, if for nothing else, to act as a barrier between rogue threats and the heart of Russia.
So let's be real. How many times do we say one thing and mean another? How many times do we say something with alterior motives? I would really be amazed if someone out here told me they've never had alterior motives when asking something of or doing something for someone else. Then I'd have to disagree. We've all done it I think it's safe to say. It's more of how intentional and detrimental it was.
So where does the US go from here? President Bush needs to sit down alone with President Putin and they need to explain to each other why they feel the need to do what they're doing. No relationship - personal, professional, or political - can last very long if the lines of communication are cut or clogged. There is only one way to solve this problem, and that's by talking it out and working for a resolution both parties can be happy with.