American officials decided to withdraw an appeal of a decision granting political asylum to a Chechen leader wanted by Russia,, one Ilyas Akhmadov. As always, we make weekly visits to Pravda for just this kind of news-- not neo-hagiographies of George W. "reconstituted regular guy" Bush campaigning among the "real people", but what is actually going on out there, and in particular, what is going on here, as seen from there, in this case from the Eurasian metropole.
I know virtually nothing of Akhmadov's case: indeed, the story is virtually not reported here. I would imagine, however, that if someone we viewed as comparable to a Timothy McVeigh showed up in, say, Russia, and asked for political asylum and was granted it, we might well be pissed.
Although our Dear Leader said he looked into (ex-KGB man) Vladimir Putin's heart and saw a man with whom he could do bid'ness (Russia is big on presidential control of the media too), it is unclear that Russia's interests and ours are by any means identical.
Some big issues are looming out there: oil, Iraq contracts, and of course, Axis of Evil TM survivors Iran and North Korea. For all I know, btw, this asylum decision is correct, if not mandated by law. I have no idea. But given the Bush Administration's track record on pissing off friend and foe alike, there is no reason to have confidence of that. As before, I thinnk our relations with Russia will soon become extraordinarily important. (Just a guess...)
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