18 February 2007

The Russians get it (Checks and Balances)

You can find some interesting, if basic, commentary on the Iraq escalation votes in a Russian publication Kommersant. Sergey Strokan comments in "Anti-Presidential Congress":
After the unceasing debates on Capitol Hill last week regarding George Bush's new strategy in Iraq, the US Congress showed its colors regarding the military operations in Iraq during votes on resolutions put forth by Democratic opponents of the White House. Though the resolutions are nonbinding, the votes themselves were of fundamental importance, since they gave the voters a clear picture of the position that their congressional representatives take on what has become the most significant political issue in America.
In case you expect another rehash of the stories that popped up in the New York Times or the Washington Post, think again:
Nevertheless, despite the appearance of failure in the Senate, not only did the Democrats not act beaten – they actually claimed victory, insisting that a radical about-face has already taken place in the attitude in Congress. The Republicans are increasingly jumping ship and taking the side of the Democrats, which is leaving the White House more and more isolated and weakening the already thinning ranks of its allies. ... The conclusion that the vote in the Senate was a victory for the Democrats was confirmed by influential Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has continued to support President Bush on the question of Iraq. "This is a very, very sad Saturday for the U.S. Senate on the heels of a disaster in the U.S. House," said Senator Graham, who accused the Democrats of "playing stupid political games while people are off over in Iraq trying to win this war."
Despite some good political reporting, one does get the sense that dealing with American politics is still foreign to Russain reporters. At one point, Strokan mentions " Well-known Democratic Senator John Murtha". Elsewhere, he picks up on Lieberman's comments earlier in the week, suggesting, "some wonder whether the resolutions in the House and the Senate may signify a widening gulf between the branches of government that may precipitate a constitutional crisis in America."

At least, someone's paying attention!

UPDATE: For the background on the publication itself, take a look at the Wiki article.

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