Sunday, August 05, 2007

Washington Post on Growing Anti-Americanism in Russia

Quick link and reference to an article in the Washington Post, which seems to be getting some commentary in the blogosphere.

The problem with the article, in my opinion, is that it draws the wrong conclusions. Or maybe it is better said that it starts with some pre-formed conclusions and attempts to mold the data to those presumptions. Sarah E. Mendelson and Theodore P. Gerber indicate that Kremlin policies and rhetoric towards the U.S. are negatively affecting public opinions in Russia.

However, I would state that prior Levada Center polls have shown that Russians have a growing dislike of the United States well before many of the Kremlin's most pointed criticisms of the United States in recent months. Suggesting that the Kremlin created these attitudes is putting the cart before the horse.

It seems rather ignorant to presume that the Kremlin doesn't notice the public opinions and moods of citizens within Russia, and pander towards the people to some extent. Why should they be any different than the government and politicians within the United States? It also seems foolish to think that Russians can only form an opinion based upon what their government is telling them. Russians have ample opportunity to read what the world is saying. The Kremlin certainly didn't write the script for NATO expansion in Central and Eastern Europe; bombings in the former Yugoslavia, the war in Iraq; foreign-funded NGO's involvement in revolutions in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine; placement of ballistic missile interceptors in Poland; and any number of other U.S. policies which appear aggressive and hostile to Russian eyes.

Why would anyone imagine that Russians would form positive opinions about these foreign policy actions by the United States?

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