On the Record

Resurgent Russia Challenges U.S. Diplomacy

Strobe Talbott

The United States has found itself in a difficult position with the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Strobe Talbott talks with Scott Simon, on NPR’s Weekend Edition, about U.S. relations in the region.

Scott Simon: You’ve heard our reporters. What do you make of the facts on the ground” Reassuring?

Strobe Talbott: Far from reassuring, it’s pretty clear from what Greg and Ivan said that Russia is continuing to make war against Georgia. And when I say Georgia I mean the state of Georgia. It was 40 years ago we saw Soviet tanks role into Czchekoslovakia. Back in 1956 it was Soviet tanks rolling into Hungry. And the Afghanistan in 1979. This is the first time in the post Soviet post-cold war era where we’ve got Russian troops marauding around a neighboring country and that is the fundamental fact which has changed a lot.

Simon: Mr. Talbott it is interesting that you should cite both Hungry and Czchekoslovakia because both in the 50’s and in 1968 the west expressed displeasure and made angry denunciations and went to the United Nations. But in the end did nothing.

Talbott: Good point Scott and as I think we have seen in the last several days the western and American options and leverage here are pretty limited. Which incidentally underscores why Georgia and now I suspect quite a number of other countries, that live closer to the Russian bear then they would like, would very much like to be part of NATO.

Listen to the full interview »