Weekend Watchdog

Terrance Heath

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. We’ll post a wrap-up here on the blog on Monday.

We, the watchdog and many others, had Georgia on our minds this week. Not my home state, memorably saluted in song by Ray Charles, but former Soviet Republic invaded by Russia — an act that may have had its roots in U.S. policy, and one that we saw coming but were stretched too thin to prevent — after Georgia attacked the tiny region of South Ossetia.

With Russia in the news, and looking like a major player on the world stage, it’s no surprise that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is making the rounds of the Sunday Shows, fresh from a recent trip to the region, bearing a cease fire agreement and a recommendation that Russia … uh … stop the invasion and … uh … withdraw from Georgia. (She also stopped to shake hands with a Georgian president who sounded eerily like another president who launched an invasion a while back.)

We’ve got a rare chance to ask the Secretary two questions, since she’s appearing on two different Sunday shows.

For Secretary Rice ( NBC’s Meet the Press):

The president has chastised Russia for "bullying and intimidation" in it’s military tactics, and you said that Russia had to accept Georgia’s sovereignty and respect its territorial integrity. When did invading a country that poses no threat to you become unacceptable in the 21st century?

For Secretary Rice, again (Fox’s Fox News Sunday):

As a Russian expert, could anyone have predicted Russia’s actions as a response to the U.S. pushing too aggressively to bring Georgia into NATO while the U.S. and Russia were still at odds over security issues? And, in that light, how wise was it to pursue that course when we’re too bogged down in Iraq to respond to another crisis.

And for McCain campaign national co-chair Tom Ridge (Fox’s, Fox New Sunday):

As former Homeland Security Chief, how much safer are we now given that our own senior terrorism analysts are saying that Al Qaeda has gotten stronger and is more capable of attacking inside the United States, and the Army is now reviewing security measures at our research laboratories while Homeland Security ignores expert evaluations and apparently plays politics with biolab security.

And about this:

It was the type of foreign policy rhetorical blunder that has regularly plagued the McCain campaign and could have diplomatic ripples as well. Certainly the comment was meant in innocence. But for those predisposed to the notion that the U.S. is an increasingly arrogant international actor, the suggestion by a presidential candidate that, in this day and age, countries don’t invade one another — when the U.S. is occupying two foreign nations — does little to alleviate that negative perception.

Really?

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