Some critics of the Obama administration have pointed to that document to make the case that the reset was nothing new. But that argument turns the real lesson of the Sochi Declaration on its head. The fact that only four months after it was signed the United States contemplated an attack on Russian forces in Georgia demonstrates that the document amounted to mere words on paper. The Obama administration’s reset produced much more than words. But until policy makers address the underlying problems in the relationship—until brakes are installed on that car—we will continue to see downswings like the one we have today.
Samuel Charap is the senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, based at the IISS-US, the Institute’s Washington, DC, office. Previously he was a Council on Foreign Relations international-affairs fellow at the U.S. Department of State.Image: Pullquote: Immediately following his inauguration in May 2012, Putin did not take deliberate steps to worsen the relationship. But he demonstrated no interest in investing in it.Essay Types: Essay