Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev is in no mood to listen to US criticism about the state of human rights or democracy in Russia. This week he said that the US was "essentially in a depression" and thus in no shape to tell other countries what to do.
During an interview with foreign journalists, one reporter asked the president about John McCain's proposal to expel Russia from the G8 for its record on democracy. Medvedev offered a lesson in international relations: "The Group of 8 exists not because someone likes or dislikes it, but because objectively, they are the biggest world economies and the most serious players from the foreign policy point of view." Little more than a decade after communism fell and left Russia in economic shambles, lucrative oil exports have made Russia economically, and geopolitically, confident.
Gas-station-side prayer vigils across America, organized by the Prayer at the Pump movement, might be giving Medvedev the evidence he needs to make such statements. For more on God and gas,
The prayer group's founder, a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, said the group is currently in the prayer phase of working for lower-pump prices, but will soon begin activist work. He said: "We are praying that God will touch the hearts of people in power to find a solution quickly."
If money talks, do tough times mean America will soon lose its international influence?