The past year has seen what has been called a reset in U.S.-Russian relations. Until mid-September, some very senior Russians perceived this reset as more rhetoric than reality. They also had not expected Barack Obama to win the American presidential elections until rather late in the campaign and feared a new Democratic administration would bring a return to Clinton-era policies which Russia viewed as patronizing. The scrapping of missile defense shield in Central and Eastern Europe, however, pleasantly surprised the Kremlin and has been taken as the first concrete result of the reset.
In a discussion at Carnegie with Ambassador James Collins, the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Dmitri Trenin outlines major global issues where the partnership between the United States and Russia is and will remain crucial:
Trenin asserted that “the Russians have placed themselves in a difficult situation when they know they are inferior to the United States in many ways, but they won’t accept a relationship which is anything less than an equal relationship. A way out of that situation lies along the path of looking at the strategic basis for U.S.-Russian relations.… If the U.S. and Russia find a way to collaborate on strategic defense issues, then it is no longer MAD [Mutual Assured Destruction]; it is something else. That to me is the one big hope for the relationship. And I think that the window of opportunity is now, essentially it’s lifetime of this administration.”
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