Posts Tagged ‘gps’

November 2012

What Obama needs to do about Russia


At least as far as foreign policy went, Russia received an unexpected amount of attention in this year’s U.S. presidential election campaign. Whether it was the Romney team’s dismissing the so-called reset, its claim that Russia is America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” or President Obama’s infamous open mic moment, in which he promised his Russian counterpart “flexibility” on missile defense if reelected, ties with Moscow kept cropping up.

It is, of course, true that the Cold War world no longer exists, and that Russia occupies a far less significant space in American foreign policy. And the U.S.-Russia relationship simply is not as overtly antagonistic as it was in the Soviet era. But it is also clear that Russia continues to pose serious challenges for the United States.

With this in mind, here are some suggestions for President Obama for how he should approach Russia in his second term.

Forget the reset. The election is over. It’s time to face reality. And the reality is that Russia has rapidly regressed from soft authoritarianism into a less qualified dictatorship that shields brutal regimes around the world with ever greater brazenness. What’s more, the Russian leadership has all but acknowledged that the reset is over. And if you don’t trust the Kremlin’s words, then consider its actions. Putin blamed opposition protests on “signals” that Hillary Clinton had supposedly sent to incite revolts against his regime. In September, the Foreign Ministry announced the expulsion of USAID from Russia and rejected the State Department’s request for a six-month extension to wind down grants. And, last month, Moscow decided that it will not negotiate a follow-on Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction pact with the U.S. These are trends that even the reset’s most ardent supporters cannot ignore.

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