The Road to Moscow

Since the end of the cold war, American foreign policy toward Russia has been dismissive of Russian interests. Acknowledging that a country has separate aims does not mean we cannot work toward common goals.

Issue: May-June 2009

From the May/June 2009 issue of The National Interest.

 

THE OBAMA administration's initial steps to reset relations with Russia are welcome news. Few countries are as important to America's national interests, and few relationships have been as badly managed by U.S. officials.

The efforts were substantively launched at Barack Obama's London meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in April, and set a positive tone. But the "fresh start" the two sides have called for will not be easy and meaningful improvement will be even harder. Both sides have accumulated considerable baggage, political and psychological alike, and there are reasons for the sharp deterioration in ties between Washington and Moscow. To begin, while the United States and Russia have very different political processes, influential voices in both countries argue against the steps that would make true cooperation possible.

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