Dual Frustration

Russia and America still disagree about Iran and Iraq. An experienced policymaker explains what's not in this rivalry--and what to do about it.

Issue: Winter 2002-2003

Iran and Iraq loom larger than ever in Russian-American relations. At a time when the number of issues on which Moscow and Washington disagree is dwindling, these two are still contentious enough-despite Russia's "yes" vote in the un Security Council on November 8-that officials and commentators on each side regularly suspect the other of ill will and bad faith.

It's not a new problem. Long before President Bush found Iraq and Iran to be part of an "axis of evil", they were already the subject of acrimonious exchanges between Moscow and Washington. American policymakers have frequently asked their Russian counterparts how they can expect to maintain friendly relations with the United States and with states that support terrorism, threaten American friends, and violate their own international commitments by seeking weapons of mass destruction.

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