The Road to Kennebunkport
While Russian-American tension ran high through the first half of 2007, a different process took shape outside of the ordinary diplomatic contacts between ministers and Cabinet members. Even as President Putin warned that the world was heading into a new global showdown, he and his team talked again and again about the postwar outlook of President Frankln D. Roosevelt, signalling that they were listening for some resonance of the Roosevelt tradition, from inside the U.S.A. At the same time, senior figures of the broader U.S. Presidency began to act on an understanding that continuation of the confrontational course of the Cheney-dominated George W. Bush Administration was leading toward disaster.
Among the highlights of this process, which erupted into the Kennebunkport discussions, were events that were less than highlighted in the world media, at the time they occurred:
Feb. 8: Vyacheslav Surkov, an official of the Kremlin Presidential Administration, keynoted a conference on the 125th anniverary of the birth of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, held at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations and titled "The Lessons of the New Deal for Today's Russia and the Whole World." (EIR, Feb. 23, 2007.)
Feb. 10: President Putin shocked the world with his speech at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, asserting that Russia would not lie down and be trampled in a neo-imperial world. The speech was not an attack on the United States, however, but on the perversion of American policy by traitors to the real identity of the U.S.A. Putin began by invoking the policies of FDR. (EIR, Feb. 23, 2007.)
April 24: The Council for the Study of Productive Forces (SOPS), a joint institution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the government Ministry of Economics, held a conference on "Megaprojects of Russia's East: An Intercontinental Eurasian-American Transport Link Via the Bering Strait." A paper by Lyndon LaRouche on the Eurasian Land-Bridge as a path away from global showdown was presented at the conference, while former governor of Alaska Walter Hickel spoke in person. Academician Alexander Granberg and Victor Razbegin of the Ministry of Economics were the lead Russian speakers in the discussion of this grand-scale Russian-American project. (EIR, May 4, 2007 and May 11, 2007.)
April 25: Boris Yeltsin, the first President of post-Soviet Russia, was buried in Moscow. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush led the U.S. delegation to Yeltsin's funeral. The invitation to Russian President Putin to meet with President George W. Bush at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, came from ex-President George H.W. Bush, at this time, according to Russian reports.
Later, after the talks in Maine, Russian perceptions of the role being played by the senior Bush were exemplified in a July 4 commentary by Shamsudin Mamayev of Eurasiahome.org, titled "Kennebunkport: Solitaire, or Poker?" Asking why President Bush publicly reacted positively to Putin's concept of a European-wide anti-missile defense system, Mamayev wrote, "Evidently his father, ex-President George Bush, Sr., ... has a sobering influence on him. He is the political antipode to his own son, having, in his day, categorically refused to storm Baghdad, and having traveled to Kiev to plead personally for Ukraine not to leave the U.S.S.R."
Former President Clinton also had the opportunity to confer with Putin.
April 26: Putin received former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Kremlin, for their seventh tête-à-tête during the past six yers. Putin then announced that he was pleased to support the formation of a new strategic working group, called "Russia-U.S.A.: A Look Into the Future." It is to be headed by Kissinger and former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, a regular advisor to Putin.
April 27: The White House issued a statement, welcoming the formation of the new group. According to Itar-Tass, the possible members of the group are quite a mix, including George Shultz, former Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh, former Sen. Sam Nunn, and former Soviet Ambassador to the U.S.A. Yuli Vorontsov. Primakov said that its first meeting would take place in Moscow in July.
According to Mamayev's unconfirmed report, the day after his meeting with Kissinger, Putin phoned President Bush to put forward, informally and for the first time, the proposal to use Azerbaijan's Gabala radar facility for joint anti-missile operations, instead of the installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that Russia opposes.
May 16: LaRouche, in Moscow for the 80th birthday celebration of Prof. Stanislav Menshikov at the Russian Academy of Sciences, gave an interview to economist Mikhail Khazin. Focussed on questions of leadership under conditions of the global systemic financial and economic crisis, the discussion was broadcast the following week on Khazin's "A+ In Economics" show on the Russian Orthodox Church's Spas TV channel, which has a close following in leading Russian circles.
LaRouche said, "If Russia, under President Putin, can succeed in finding a response, in connection with key institutions within the United States, it will become possible to turn the objective reality of the situation, into an understanding of common policy. You need a response from the United States for what President Putin, and other people in Russia today, have said about the Roosevelt tradition."
While noting the extreme limitations of President Bush, LaRouche explained, "We have institutions, the older people who are officially active, or formerly active, like general officers, flag officers; former, but they're actually still active; diplomats, professional diplomats; certain tendencies in the intelligence services; in other institutions of government, the professional institutions, who work very closely with their friends who've gone out of government. This is our political elite.... We must have a dialogue between Russia and the United States, involving other countries, like China, India, and so on, who understand that we believe the same thing about the present world crisis, and can understand what we must do for the next 50 years." (EIR, June 1, 2007.)
June 6-8: At the G-8 summit meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, Putin officially unveiled the Gabala radar proposal, offering a way out of the showdown over U.S. anti-missile installations planned for Poland and the Czech Republic. (EIR, June 15, 2007.)
June 29: Speaking in Ukraine at a conference of Yalta European Security, former President Clinton invoked the memory of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the policy LaRouche did so much to design, and its prospect of Soviet-American cooperation on saving lives through killing missiles. He said that he, as President, had voiced the same principle, to Presidents Yeltsin and Putin. (See article in this section.)
July 1-2: Presidents Bush and Putin meet in Kennebunkport, Maine, as guests of ex-President George H.W. Bush at the family Summer estate.