Russia and geopolitics on the campaign trail
President Obama’s candid conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was caught on an open mic.
March 28th, 2012
09:25 AM ET

Russia and geopolitics on the campaign trail

Editor's Note: Matthew Rojansky is the deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

By Matthew Rojansky – Special to CNN

President Obama has not had much luck with microphones.  The President’s unscripted exchange with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday in Seoul became the latest “whisper heard round the world.”

Unbeknownst to either leader, microphones caught Obama’s assurance that he would have more “flexibility” after the November presidential election to resolve tough issues like ballistic missile defense, and likewise broadcast Medvedev’s promise to “transmit this information to Vladimir.”

On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney seized this opportunity to lambast Obama for showing any flexibility in relations with Putin’s Russia, which he labeled America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”

Aside from confirming the view that Medvedev is little more than Putin’s go-between, this episode has served as a timely reminder that the wider world still matters for the remaining seven months of the U.S. presidential campaign season. 

Foreign policy - especially relations with an important but difficult state like Russia - is seldom high on the U.S. political agenda, but candidates had better be well prepared to face such matters head on this year, or risk looking foolish.

Russia’s continuing cameo on the campaign trail is a matter of timing.  Russia has just concluded its most important presidential election since the 1990’s, and will soon inaugurate Vladimir Putin to yet another term, this one lasting until (at least) 2018.

At the same time, after almost two decades of negotiations, Russia is set to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), which means the U.S. Congress must either vote to give Russia permanent normal trade relations, or U.S. companies will suffer.

This has already opened the floodgates of lobbying by business and human rights advocates, speechifying on Capitol Hill, and editorializing among the talking heads.  In the coming months, we will hear plenty more about balancing free trade with tough sanctions against those responsible for Russia’s disappointing record on human rights and democracy.

In the spirit of the “Arab awakening,” Russia’s popular protest movement has also given democracy-builders and freedom-agenda-setters cause to hope for a “Slavic Spring.”

In some corners, there is a palpable feeling that it is 1989 once again, there is a new iron curtain to be struck down, and the wave of popular uprisings that began in Tunisia will not be over till it has flooded the streets of Tehran, Moscow, and even Beijing.

For true believers, this is a historic moment of opportunity, when those aspiring to lead the free world must either stand and be counted - on the model of Ronald Reagan - or be remembered as the Neville Chamberlains of our era.

Given a choice between Reagan’s “tear down this wall” clarity, and the sure infamy of accommodating today’s Kremlin autocrats, Romney can be forgiven for choosing the confrontational approach - after all, the “reset” is a signature Obama initiative, and he won’t win conservatives or swing voters by playing nice with Putin.

But whichever contender occupies the Oval Office next January, he is likely to find that Russia remains an indispensable partner on a bevy of top U.S. security interests.

First, Washington will continue to rely on the so-called Northern Distribution Network, which uses Russian roads, rail and airspace to transit more than half of the troops and supplies required for NATO’s effort in Afghanistan.  With the impending withdrawal of U.S. forces, this route will become equally important as a secure egress for weapons and ammunition that cannot be left to the Afghan army, and must not fall into insurgent hands.

Likewise, we cannot expect Kabul to keep drug and weapons flows in check, or hope for political stability in the region, without Russia’s active participation and support - in other words, as NATO draws down, Moscow will have to ramp up its own commitment.

Second, Russia is the pivotal player on global nuclear security issues, whether it is preventing nuclear proliferation, promoting safety and security of nuclear materials, or taking sensible steps to reduce bloated nuclear arsenals and avoid the prospect of a future arms race.  Yet Russia is a prickly partner, and without reassurance that current plans for ballistic missile defenses in Europe will not undermine its deterrent, the decades-old legacy of nuclear de-escalation started by Reagan could come to a tragic and bitter end.

Lastly, Russia’s prolonged support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria illustrates the still-central role it can play in managing and resolving - or deepening - regional crises.  Moscow’s Security Council veto is a hefty arrow in its quiver, but by no means the only one.  With Syria, it can withhold arms sales, deny al-Assad a safe haven, and freeze the regime’s financial assets.

On Iran, it has already backed international sanctions to restrict dangerous and dual-use technologies, and canceled a sale of sophisticated air-defense missiles.

And on North Korea, Russia and China are practically the only powers with an open channel to Pyongyang, while both have agreed to interdict suspect cargo shipments headed for the hermit kingdom.  The Russian navy has even played a key role in fighting piracy off the horn of Africa.

To handle Russia right on the campaign trail may depend on which audience is listening.  But to handle Russia as President of the United States will demand a consistent balance between the righteousness of Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech and the hard-nosed realism of his nuclear negotiations.

Campaign-friendly oversimplifications about friends and foes, white hats and black hats, will just make it harder to find common ground with Moscow on the next Middle East crisis, on our Afghanistan exit strategy, or on contentious trade issues.

The candidates would be wise to lay some groundwork now for a Russia policy robust enough to bear the weight of concrete U.S. interests that depend on cooperation with Moscow.  Otherwise, it would be best to keep quiet altogether.

What exactly should go into such a policy is a question for deliberate and exhaustive debate among experts, and the results are not likely to be sound bite friendly.  But here is a guiding principle with which Ronald Reagan would surely have agreed: Be steadfast in pursuit of your interests, and remember that the other side will do the same.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Matthew Rojansky.

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Topics: 2012 Election • President Obama • Russia

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Benedict

    Love or hate Russia is optional,dealing with them isn‘t! If Obama wants to be flexible with,the Republicans should know that they would have to do the same if they should come to power!

    March 28, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
    • FriendsofIndia

      How wonderful that these American pundits know just about everything and everywhere, including the secretive world of the Russian and American deals, unlike that of the most open, most transparent, and supah dupah Indian superpower. Even our Italian lady has more transparency with her Saree than all of that Russia's and America's added together, and of course, her son Rahul.

      Better yet, we resolutely recommend that America should invade Russia, the only large country that can ever rival India. As the world's greatest democracy and its only super duper power, India should join the US in this invasion, for this is the only chance that the invasion can ever succeed.

      On the one hand, the US has plenty of experience of invading other countries, with the skills honed in the invasion of Panama, Greennada, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, that India lacks. On the other, India has resources and ways and means to manage large dalit populations. We can send 100 million of our dalit armies, that completely overwhelm all the population in Russia. We can make all the Russian girls to be married to our dalit soldiers, that will instantly solve our problem of too few girls, and at the same time all the next generation of them will be our content India dalits instead of Russian who are constantly a pain on India's butt. As for the rest of the Russian men, they will either all be vaporized in their unholy and futile so called resistance, or that they can all migrate to Russia to co-habit with their fellow Europeans.

      This will completely change the geostrategic situation, it will make India the strongest nation in the world, and enhancing our world's greatest and largest and duperest super power status. And in fact, that should turn it around immediately to make the USA our vassal state because of our immediate control of Iranian oil and gas and our chokehold on the Eurasia land mass.

      Submit to your fate under our Hindu Colossus, beg our 5 rupee meal middle classes, bow to our super powers.

      Pray for India. Jai Hind!

      March 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
      • seriously zakaria?

        lol...i cracked up big time. Thanks. Great lunch time read.

        March 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
      • john

        stop being a butt head huh. india cant do nothing pk.they have to worrie about china , pakastain u are a sick person people work for pennies over there they come to america because they can make someone of there self and not be poor you are atotal ass get a life

        March 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
      • john

        bow to so curry lol email me fool

        March 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        seriously zakaria?
        Explain what was so funny?
        Intelligent people explain themselves.
        Intelligent people do not simply say things on discussion boards without explaining themselves.
        Moron!

        March 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        John, Abdul, you called it "fool."

        March 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • buzzynwa

        I am not stereotyping. Its Indian way of presenting a wishful thought, (about any topic), as an educated opinion. For example : Its like an Indian saying, I AM SURE India will win 4-0 in Australia (test cricket) and kick the butts of Aussies (etc...), when the fact is they are actually wishing for India to win. Some Indians say, India will beat the crap out of China or say, USA, or Pakistan etc, like they KNOW as a fact. no hate..

        March 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
      • buzzynwa

        I am not stereotyping. Its Indian way of presenting a wishful thought, (about any topic), as an educated opinion. For example : Its like an Indian saying, I AM SURE India will win 4-0 in Australia (test cricket) and kick the butts of Aussies (etc...), when the fact is they are actually wishing for India to win. Some Indians say, India will beat the crap out of China or say, USA, or Pakistan etc, like they KNOW as a fact. no hate

        March 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
      • Karel de Grote

        lWorld war one is over , large numbers of people don't count anymore...they are a burden. Nuclair power would deal with large numbers canon flodder anyway. Try to be an efficient, fair, democratic and productive nation were the distribution of wealth ensures everybody has a decent life.

        March 31, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  2. George Patton

    The problem here is that this Adolf Hitler wannabe Mitt Romney wants to antagonize the Russians rather than cooperate with them. This bozo will make a terrible Prosident if he ever gets elected. Heaven knows that Barack Obama is bad enough!!!

    March 28, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Yes, Neville Chamberlain failed in his appeasement policy with Adolf Hitler. I believe Obama is smarter and would avoid making the same mistakes as Chamberlain.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Medvedev was right that we're living in the 1970's but in 2010's. Due to the emergence of China and India, it will be difficult for the U.S. to maintain its hegemony and has to share power in order to maintain the global law and order. Relying on us Europeans is not enought, the U.S. needs another ally. whom – China, India or Russia?

        March 28, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        please read, we're NOT living....

        March 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
      • Karel de Grote

        Europe and Russia need to co-operate better on all fronts,Russia should be invited to join NATO it could pave the way for a USA-Europe-Russia pact.

        March 31, 2012 at 9:13 am |
      • habibi

        NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, reaffirmed the Allies commitment to keep NATO’s door remains open to any European country in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership, and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. Since 1949, NATO’s membership has increased from 12 to 28 countries through six rounds of enlargement. Albania and Croatia, which were invited to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, formally became members when the accession process was completed on 1 April 2009.

        March 31, 2012 at 11:36 am |
      • habibi

        Big breakthroughs between Washington and Moscow will have to wait until after the November US elections, with the two sides meanwhile doing "homework" on issues such as missile defence, a top US official said Friday.

        "This is an important 'homework' period in the US-Russia relationship," Acting Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller told reporters and students at a Moscow university.

        "Now we have to think about the future," said the veteran Russia expert. "How are we going to cooperate on missile defences?"

        US plans to deploy a NATO-backed missile defence shield in Europe has strongly bothered Russia, which wants a legally binding agreement saying the system would not be used or aimed against it at any time.

        March 31, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • beer

      Politicians always fight the last war – especially if they have won it. Everyone else moves on and adapts. This has been especially true of the last 20 years in Washington.

      March 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply
      • habibi

        The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

        Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.

        Most of today's Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book's many calls to violence according to what their own moral preconceptions find justificable. Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.

        Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. Muhammad's own martial legacy – and that of his companions – along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.

        March 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
      • Karel de Grote

        The US hasn't been to successful fighting wars on theire own. Korea, Viet Nam and Irag were all failures and Afghanistan wouldn't be any different.

        March 31, 2012 at 9:16 am |
      • habibi

        Karel, what do you define as a lost war?

        March 31, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  3. pmcdonald

    No wonder US foreign policy is such a disgrace and a disaster. Viewing countries as friend or foe. Seeing relations in black and white. Taking the Reagan or Chamberlain route. By the way who actually believes that Reagan's "tear down that wall" comment had any impact on Gorbachov given the train had already left the station.

    If Romney wants to try to bully Russia, lets see the response of such tactics.....in Vietnam, in North Korea, in Cuba, in Venezuela, in Saddam's Iraq, in Iran. Confronting countries that you have turned into foes doesn't do anything. They harden their positions and their people become more nationalistic and anti-American. The only option is to physically invade and overthrow.....and that only works sometimes......and theres not a chance of that happening with Russia. The US is not strong enough to overpower Russia militarily without the US homeland being nuked back to the stone age.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • patriot

      im for what ur saying and u got good points, but the U.S not strong enough to overpower Russian military? are u kidding me? The United States has best trained, best equipped soldiers in the world and don't even get me started on experience. Plus top ranked #1 navy in the world and air force, You don't know what your saying bro hush up.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
      • russian

        Сша недостачно сильны чтобы одолеть российскую армию, хоть вы и считаете что у америки лучшие солдаты в мире это не так, америка может воевать только с заведомо слабым соперников без ВВС слабой ПВО, посмотрите на последние войны, в них все отчетливо видно

        March 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • shahin

        Patriot, I think your patriotism is starting to sound like arrogance. Just because you have better equipment doesn't mean you have better soldiers. It's easy to say you have the best when 99% of your soldiers are protected by the best equipment and gadgets.
        Russians are old school and trust me, when it comes to defending homelands, armies can be beaten, but peoples can not. If the US ever tries to do something as stupid as invading Russia you'd all better start looking for a nice spot to be burried.

        March 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
      • simon

        Forget about who is tougher this isnt high school!!!!!!!!!! Second numbers dont mean nothing for instance mike tyson buster douglas mike ranked number one buster number 48 in the world.... dumb people like you instigate things... We need to make world peace and let every country govern their own.... Us Americans are getting the short end of the stick we pay our taxes to destroy and rebuild other countries come on man time for a change and have the world united as one i wish i could be president!!!!!!!!!!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        @patriot, Russia has the largest stockpile of nukes. A war with the U.S. would lead to World War III.

        March 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • George Patton

        Right russian. Americans are necessarily better fighters than the Russians, they just have vastly superior weapons which should surprise no one since we currently spend some $783B annually to acquire them!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
      • George Patton

        Sorry russian, for the missprint above. I meant to say that the Americans are NOT necessarily better fighters than the Russians, not otherwise!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • Tinkaren

        A war with Russia cannot happen, and if it does it will last for a few minutes and be over along with everything else

        March 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
      • Andrey

        A fine example of Cold War thinking! Man, you live in the past. It is not between USA and USSR any more! So your arrogance is simply displaced.
        So you can enjoy being the biggest bully on the block. But if you friends are crap and you treat them like that – your future is quite bleak. And where you are is not that important compared to where are you going.
        But why would I care! Enjoy it while you can!

        March 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        George, Abdul, I keep telling you from one discussion to another, you are not American and we know this.
        You are a slimy piece of islamic ca ca who is here to lie, cheat and try to sow dissent among read Americans.

        March 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
      • David

        I remember two great military leaders that also said that they could defeat The Motherland. Hitler and Napoleon, and we all know what happened to them.

        March 30, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • Today

      Easy Shahin, don't worry we won't brag about demolishing your Russian weapons in the middle east. And as far as unvadng Russia, usually there needs to be something of worth, to want to invade a country- anyway our troops would never get through – being blocked by all the russians running away from russia, the roads would be impassable.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
  4. jal

    I don't like any president "wheeling and dealing" behind the scenes. THAT hurts re-election hopes.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • patrick

      You are naive if you think that it is not done all the time.
      Buth then, I do njot know what your agenda is.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    • Melissa

      This is common place for Igor's dsniteation in his bad Russian truck.I wonder if anyone on here remembers me from my old posts. Sorry I haven't posted for a while, I was stuck in middle of Siberia for months in my nuclear waste truck living off vodka to keep warm during our cold summer

      April 21, 2012 at 3:40 am | Reply
  5. AlexShch

    OK. Lets see... Pres. Obama said that he will have more flexibility after the election. What he actually mean is that because of election campaign right now he does not have flexibility right now: he must say EXACTLY what American People want him to say as it dictated by the election campaign strategy. Later will sssseeeee... but for now he must be tough on Russia, Iran, whatever. United States is in 4-year menstrual cycle again and all kind of crazy things may happen. Mood swings, for example. Mitt Romney straightened out Pres. Obama saying in straight: Russia is #1 United States enemy. Well, he is right - this is exactly how the majority of American People see it.

    As for the "Russian Spring" - it is basically over right now. The unimpeachable democrats - Nemtsov, Navalny, Kasparov, Kasyanov, etc - overwhelmingly rejected by the Russian public. Russian politics is back no normal mode - just day-by-day business, mostly of domestic economic nature. Not even bashing the United States. It is very boring.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • Lionel Mandrake

      Alex, err Abdul, where is your statement stated?
      "Pres. Obama said that he will have more flexibility after the election"

      March 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  6. shahin

    it's "RPG".

    March 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • dart

      whats rpg

      March 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  7. Lizzie

    Pres.Obama already removed missile defense from Europe because the Russians wanted it, without anything in return, he did not even ask the Europeans, now what is he doing, give Europe to the russians and be done with it?

    March 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Did he really, Lizzie? If he did remove those missiles from Eastern Europe, then that's the best and smartest move he made to date!!! That so-called "Missile Defense Shied" like I said before, is one of stupidest ideas ever conceived in all the annals of mankind!!!

      March 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
      • patrick

        Abdul, can you state why the Missile Defence Shield "is one of the stupidest ideas ever conceived ...?"

        March 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
      • George Patton

        Three very good reasons, patrick. First, we'll have to pay the bulk of the costs of building it with money we don't have. Secondly, it will only antagonize the Russians with whom we need to cooperate and finally it will protect mo one at all since Europe faces no threat from anyone. The useless, self-serving burocrats currently leading Europe are only looking for new ways to pocket more money!!!

        March 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Missile defense is still one issue that enjoys bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. The proposed defensive system is supposed to contain Iran, while strengthening ties with Russia.

        March 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
      • Lionel Mandrake

        “Lavrov says missile defense projects should not 'upset parity,'” RIA Novosti, February 2011.
        http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110205/162465891.html

        March 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Andrey

      Another good example!
      Why would Russians want to mess with your ridiculous Union? You liberals are much better at their job of destroying your countries then 10 Russias coul! Nobody wants a part in that mess what is Europe today Thank you, we pass! We will sell you our gas and oil – and that will be all! No we will not use our nuclear weapons on you – or our export revenues will drop. China is of course ready to take whatever you buy now, but the pipelines are not quite ready yet. Give us a few years – and you can completely forget about Russia, we will not need you for anything!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
      • patrick

        If you are correct, then why are all of your muslim fiends trying to emigrate here and there??

        March 29, 2012 at 8:41 am |
      • Marine5484

        Thank you, Andrey. However, it's the conservative fanatics who want this idiotic missile system in Europe, not the so-called liberals. How so very arrogant and self-righteous they are! By the way, did you notice how this patick above calls everyone who disagrees with a "Muslim"? I did.

        March 29, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Andrey

        Marine5484: It is difficult for me to make the actual distinction between US Democrats and Republicans. I think I am just not trying. I just like thinking of them as liberals. But of course they are very reasonable and realistic people compared to the politicians who occupied Brussels! Their socialists' dream will be the demise of Europe.
        As for patric – I am not clear what he is saying. Did he mean FIENDS or FRIENDS? And what exactly was he talking about?

        March 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  8. Lionel Mandrake

    Last year, U.S. Senate specifically banned sharing of confidential missile defense data with Russia. On Tuesday, 43 out of the 47 Republican Senators in Washington signed a letter to President Obama opposing any attempt to limit U.S. missile defense capabilities.
    To many American conservatives, it would irresponsible for America’s leadership to not invest in a technology that could potentially save millions of lives. Republicans say that Democrats deride missile defense as “Star Wars’ technology” and that Democrats only keep the program alive in order to be able to sacrifice it as a bargaining chip in a deal with Russia.

    Perhaps alarmed at this week’s surge in Republican opposition, Sergei Koshelev, Russia’s top liaison with NATO, invited Rasmussen on Wednesday to Moscow for a May 3 missile defense meeting. Referring to NATO’s 28 members, he soothingly told Interfax: “We are telling them: ‘do everything you think necessary, but not to the detriment of Russia’s security.’”

    March 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      Military lobby in Washington just goes stronger! Who could expect that!
      The worse the US economy is, the hungrier for money they get! The next thing they do – buy the permission from the law makers and the government to set up manufacturing of weapon components in China to boost their profits. China's manufacturing capabilities are getting better (with US help) and the time is coming when it will be a feasible option! For how long they will be able to resist the temptation?

      March 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
      • Lionel Mandrake

        Silly little girl, you missed the point of my statement; and, very amuzingly swayed it to your islamist agenda.
        So if you want to talk with the big boys, explain "Military lobby in Washington just goes stronger! Who could expect that!" and what is wrong with that concept.

        March 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        @Lionel Mandrake – your comment to Andrey "silly little girl"...
        Andrey is the Russian name for ANDREW!

        March 30, 2012 at 3:57 am |
      • habibi

        j. von hettlingen
        silly little girl, we know that.
        hehehe...

        March 30, 2012 at 6:38 am |
      • Andrey

        Sorry to upset you big boy! I have just ignored the point you were trying to make completely and totally pushed my own "islamist agenda" instead! Guilty of that!
        Please note that I was the only one who actually bothered to reply to your post. I have hoped you would appreciate that! And I must say that your post is indeed very well written! Anybody can see that you tried to convey something there – whatever it was!
        Did not mean to offend you! Please keep posting!

        March 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
      • Andrey

        P.S. Lionel Mandrake: as for your question about the concept: It is too old, that is what is wrong with it! You can not use missile defence against some nuclear suitcase, chemical weapon loaded car or biological letter delivered by mail...
        That game of "who will go burst first" what was played by USA vs USSR was great and worked – when nobody else would count for nothing. Now it seems US is the only one still playing it, while everybody else are focused on something different. Of course it is easier for somebody not to notice that and continue doing what they know best. And Russia is sort of conventional and comfortable enemy to play it against. But unfortunately comfortable and easy is very often a wrong road to take. So that would be an explanation of my "islamist agenda" for you.

        March 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • habibi

        Okay Andrey, I can admit that you do not respond with the usual islamic rhetoric like j. von hettlingen.
        But skeptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond. And their grim forecasts assume that the cure would be worse than the disease - that is, that the consequences of a U.S. assault on Iran would be as bad as or worse than those of Iran achieving its nuclear ambitions. But that is a faulty assumption. The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.

        March 31, 2012 at 8:34 am |
      • Andrey

        OK Habibi I am not going to argue all that Iran situation – how much of it is a real threat and how much it a good old conventional enemy building. I would probably even agree that building these systems in Europe will help US to somehow sustain its missile manufacturing capabilities – or whatever.. But what I see, and the situation with US-Russia relations demonstrates this, is that US government failed to formulate its longe-term strategies which would reflect all the changes which have happened in the last 25 years. They are playing the same old game – but with Iran impersonating USSR now,... How is it going to handle Pakistan and India, both with nuclear and missile capabilities, China, ME, Russia? And is it going to be US and EU vs the rest of the world? Why would not they try to find and build common ground with more countries? Too comfortable in the past? Good luck them with that!

        March 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  9. Hahahahaha

    Dmitry is tell Obama to "pull my finger"! Hahahahahahahaha

    March 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • patrick

      moron!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
  10. russia insights

    Perhaps Obama's attempt at continual improvement of relations with Russia is on par. The US should try to convince Russia in becoming a global player in order to tackle difficult issues such as nuclear weapons or the Syria crisis. Conversation rather than aggressive attack tactics (as seen by Republicans) can prove to be more efficient. Besides, it would be wise to remain on good terms with the President (who will remain in power for the next 6 years, despite high criticisms) who leads one of the most powerful countries in the world. More comment on http://www.russia-insights.com

    March 29, 2012 at 6:07 am | Reply
    • Today

      Dear Mr Russian Insight, if you want to link US relations to internal US politics – being republican or democrat, if you are truly legit- go back and read your history. Democrats may be push overs, but incompetence always is. You may like democrats because they seem 'nicer' easier to get what you want- but I am sure being a Russian and understanding the
      hardships of reality – understand there is more to true partnership- the ease of have an incompetent partner. Look at all the major wars, how democrat leftist incompetence led the US there. The Republicans are the party, of legitmacy- and credibility- we were spawned by refusing the accept the evils of slavery (which the democrats fought every step of the way). If you reject communism, socialism then you will reject American democrat party liberalism because they are of the same. Ronald Reagan was a Republican.

      April 1, 2012 at 8:59 am | Reply
  11. deniz boro

    All I know about the new Russian policy is the first 10 minutes of the film named "Canadian Bacon" . My concept can be a daydream but it is a good one.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  12. John F. Phillips

    Posturing on the political stage is as old as politics itself. I would predict that Romney's comments, which are geared to the conservative base of the Republican Party, will moderate once the general election campaign commences and he attempts to move to the center.

    Yes, the U.S./ Russia rivalry is no longer at the levels seen during the Cold War. It is important to remember, however, that these two states have enough nuclear warheads to destroy the planet as we know it. In addition, both possess the permanent veto on the U.N. Security Council and can render that organization more impotent than it already is. Russian cooperation is needed to deal with Syria and Iran.

    A confrontational policy toward Russia is counterproductive in the long run. The United States needs to leverage the relationship in order to deal with issues in the Middle East as well as with China and the exit strategy in Afghanistan. Take the Romney comments for what they are, political posturing to pander to conservatives.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • AlexShch

      I afraid that US exist strategy from Afghanistan will look like what we see at the end of "Avatar" movie.

      For US it is a straight failure and there is no exit strategy.

      For Russia it is also failure, but of a different kind: it is failure to exercise its leverage. Between the two
      extremes - either to stay neutral in this war, meaning no support of any kind to US, not allowing US to use
      supply roots, and not allowing US to enter Russian and mid-Asian airspace (leaving Pakistan be the sole route
      to Afghanistan), or, on the other hand, take a more politically active position to force US/G.W.Bush do
      exactly what G.W.B. called "nation building" during his 2000 election campaign - meaning creating a healthy
      society in Afghanistan and heavily investing US Taxpayer money into the infrastructure of that country
      (essentially to setup positive example of improving quality of life life and break the vicious cycle of civil war
      - basically rebuild the country and create jobs other than security - this is what actually worked in
      Chechnya, but it required enormous amount of money to be pour in ) - Russia chose to passively support
      US and naively expect US to a reasonable job in "nation building". Not unexpectedly, US attempted to do
      what US always does: a kind of "main-in-U.S.A." democracy, elections, security, and the usual one-taste
      fits it all McDonalds/Mickey Mouse style approach. Not unexpectedly it is failing. And not unexpectedly, it
      is now Russia's headache to deal with the consequences of this failure - spread of drugs, political instability,
      and religious madness throughout middle Asia.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  13. dart

    so the india guy is pretty dumb, india would never have a chance against russia they would have to have americas full support including drone strikes, air raids, and a full navel presence. ya india could send in there million man army but with russias crazy turning weather and suppier fire power they wouldnt make it to moscow. now about russia army just because they live in cold bum f*** know were doesnt mean they are bad ass suppier army, american troops have way more exsperiance invading and holding terriotory, on top of that russia would have no chance when 11 nuclear aircraft carriers pulled up to there shores destroying there navey and air force in a few days. russia only exsperice in combate latly is killing and supressing there own people and getting push around by afganistan awiel ago. face it russia the only thing you got is nukes but geuss what so does america and i bet americas are quiker and stronger look at are budget it exsplains everything. o ya

    March 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      Dart, that india guy is not even Indian – may be some American Indian, I do not know.
      So just do not pay attention to him.
      The question I have got to your comment is why would you want to war with Russia? What would it be about? I do not care about the excuse, I am more curious about the reason. So what would it be? What exactly has got Russia what US needs and the opposite? Now even the economical system and the ideology are basically the same, so what is so wrong about Russia that makes Americans to want to war with it? But please do not tell me about Freedom, Democracy and Syria please: as I have said, I do not want to hear the excuses...

      March 31, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  14. RCDC

    Probably Dmitry Medvedev was pointing his finger on Mr Obama's nose. Hey you got a white hair in your nose.

    March 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  15. Today

    I think it's time US and Russia, to realize the world is changing fast- and we are in fact natural allies, and need to start acting this way. The Russian predominantly have not only to understand that cold war is over, but that WWII is over. The US also, is pursuing campaign of global dominance, specifically geared towards marginalizing Russia- this to is left over from the cold war years. It's time Russia, understand it's another ally in the Western Sphere of influence with the US and Nato- it's there best interests to do so.

    April 1, 2012 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • Andrey

      Russia was on its best behaviour for about 20 years – in 1990-2010. That was, as it was mentioned in one of the articles here by CNN, a golden era of UN, when it was "effective". Russia was trying hard to comply and be good. All these years it was nevertheless criticized relentlessly by US and by EU and did not even made it into WTO – which was from the start against its best interests, but what it still was trying to do. The West is not prepared and do not want to see an ally in Russia. So it should act in its own interests and build relations with countries who are interested and may be of some interest for Russia in the future. Fortunately that list is substantial enough to keep Russian diplomats busy!
      It should can not ignore US and EU of course. And it will not play against them – unless it is in its best interests. So far it is not. But these 20 years gave one very important lesson – international policy should always be based firmly on country's internal and economical interests. With Russia-US trade being only 3% of Russian international business, and with US acting so often against Russia, Russia should not really try too hard by establishing close relations with US, but rather position itself in the way, which may be most beneficial for building its relations with countries which may matter!

      April 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
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