Michael Barone seems to think that China is easier to deal with than Russia.
The Chinese leaders have evidently moved the rogue North Korean regime in the direction of curbing its nuclear weapons programs. Apparently, they recognize that Kim Jong Il is a danger to China as well as to us.
Russia is different. Putin seems to be persisting in his irrational opposition to our decision to put missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. As Bush has pointed out, it’s obvious that these are no threat to Russia — they’re clearly designed to protect Europe against an Iranian missile attack. Putin’s apparent desire to assert some kind of hegemony over what were once the Soviet Union’s Eastern European satellites seems delusional.
But one man’s delusions can move national policy in a country where the former KGB officer seems to have consolidated power in his own person. He appears in complete control of the government, which in turn controls the oil industry and the news media. And while he has reiterated that he will respect the law, which prevents him from running for reelection in 2008, he seems to be singlehandedly picking his successor.
Read the whole thing.