When Dent and I got together, Russia had already invaded its former vassal state, Georgia. It had signed a cease fire, but reports were circulating that the Russian bear was ignoring its own agreement. In a scant six days, Russia has broken a defiant Georgia in a ruthless display of brute power while we've watched. It has reshaped the world order.
LVRamblings: What's going on?
Congressman Dent: "First, it is quite clear that the Russian bear is awake and is angry. Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev have territorial designs and ambitions towards Georgia. There are clearly ethnic tensions in South Osettia, which is largely driving this dispute. But what we are also seeing here are very aggressive territorial designs of the current Russian leadership.
"This is unacceptable. The Russians must withdraw. They were parties to a cease fire and they seem to have violated that cease fire - they must withdraw from Georgia. That is the first thing that needs to occur.
"Clearly, a military option from our country is off the table. Nobody is seriously talking about that. The issue for us is - how do we appropriately appropriately sanction the Russians for this egregious military action?"
LVRamblings: Before we get to that, I've read that the Russians have spent the last several years feeling embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated and that they want to restore their hegemony over the adjoining states and the lustre of the U.S.S.R. Is that a legitimate concern?
Congressman Dent: "I believe that the Russian nation and certainly its current leadership feel as if they've been humiliated after the former Soviet Union dissolved. This was a blow to Russian national pride. Now that you see a Russia with some money, they feel resurgent and confident.
"What you're also seeing here is the convergence of our international security situation with our energy needs. This is driven, not only by Russian designs for territory, but also by Russian ambitions on the energy side of the equation.
"This is why we need American sources of energy, so we become less susceptible to these incidents.
"We should be looking at sanctions. Frankly, I think we ought to reconsider Russia's membership in the G8. That would be a blow to their national pride. Being in the G8 is very important to them. It will harm their stature if we take them out. They want to get involved in the World Trade Organization, the OECD. These are areas where we have some heavy leverage over the Russians.
"As far as I am concerned, this really is going to put a damper on and sours the relations between our nation and Russia. Georgia is a democratically elected government and is pro-Western just as Yushchenko's Ukraine is pro-Western. It's quite clear that Messrs. Putin and Medvedev are concerned about this Western orientation of some of their former Republics. That's also what partially drives this Russian aggression towards Georgia."
When I interviewed Sam Bennett, she was unable to name the leaders of China, France, Germany, India, Afghanistan or Sudan. Perhaps it was unfair to put her on the spot with questions like that, but her shallow understanding of foreign affairs stands in start contrast to Charlie Dent's expertise.