News / USA

    2010 Productive Year for US-Russian Relations

    President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, share a toast during a luncheon at Prague Castle in Prague Prague, Czech Republic, 08 April 2010
    President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, share a toast during a luncheon at Prague Castle in Prague Prague, Czech Republic, 08 April 2010

    The highlight was the U.S. Senate's ratification in late December of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty - or New START.

    Vice President Joe Biden, in his capacity as president of the Senate, read out the final tally.

    "71 yeahs, 26 nays, two-thirds of the Senate present having voted in the affirmative, the resolution of ratification is agreed to," said Biden.

    Shortly after Senate ratification, President Barack Obama addressed reporters.

    "This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia's," the president said.

    The Senate action represented a major victory for President Obama, who has made better relations with Moscow a cornerstone of his foreign policy.

    The New START treaty sets a limit of 1,550 deployed strategic - or long-range - nuclear warheads. It also limits to 700 the number of operationally deployed strategic nuclear delivery systems such as long-range launchers and heavy bombers. The accord also provides for what the Obama administration calls strong verification measures - provisions that ensure each side complies with its treaty obligations.

    Lawmakers vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in the Russian lower house, the State Duma, in Moscow , 24 Dec 2010
    Lawmakers vote on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in the Russian lower house, the State Duma, in Moscow , 24 Dec 2010

    The treaty now has to be ratified by the Russian parliament - or Duma - and by the Federation Council, Russia's highest legislative body. Experts say passage is virtually guaranteed.

    John Parker with the National Defense University [expressing his personal views], says the New START treaty is as important to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as it is to President Obama.

    "Since he [Medvedev] was intimately involved in negotiating it person-to-person with President Obama, it's important. He invested a lot of time in it and when it's ratified [by the Duma/Federation Council] he will, I'm sure, take a lot of political credit for it. So it's important," said Parker.

    Many experts are now looking at what might be the next step in arms negotiations between Washington and Moscow. One of those is Steven Pifer with the Brookings Institution.

    "When he signed the New START Treaty back in April, President Obama made clear that he would like to continue and in the next negotiation, address not only deployed strategic forces but address non-deployed strategic warheads - for example those nuclear warheads that are sitting in storage areas - and also address non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons," said Pifer.

    "And that opens up for the first time that the United States and Russia might be negotiating limits on all of their nuclear arsenals with the exception of those weapons that are in the dismantlement queue," Pifer continued. "That's going to be a hard negotiation because the sides will get into questions that they haven't had to address before."

    Many analysts say the START negotiations and ratification process overshadowed other positive developments in US-Russia relations.

    Robert Legvold of Columbia University says one of those was Moscow's increased cooperation in Afghanistan.

    Residents look at burning oil tankers carrying fuel supplies for NATO forces, caused by a militant attack near Jamrud, in the Khyber tribal region along the Afghan border, 20 Dec 2010
    Residents look at burning oil tankers carrying fuel supplies for NATO forces, caused by a militant attack near Jamrud, in the Khyber tribal region along the Afghan border, 20 Dec 2010

    "The most important element has been supporting transit of military equipment to Afghanistan. In the past, the U.S. has been more than two-thirds dependent on supply lines that cross the western border of Pakistan and that are vulnerable both to the insurgency in the area and at times the Pakistan government, when they protest American military actions," said Legvold.

    "So the fact that the Russians now enable both on land and air the transit of both non-lethal and lethal - that is military equipment to Afghanistan - is a critical element in sustaining the military U.S. and NATO effort within Afghanistan."

    Experts say Moscow also toughened its position on Iran, voting in favor of a United Nations Security Council resolution imposing new, tougher sanctions on Tehran - although the text was apparently watered down by Russia and China. Russia also canceled the delivery to Iran of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles - a deal dating back to 2007.

    Russia also changed its position on missile defense. After strongly criticizing for many years U.S. plans for such an endeavor, Moscow agreed to cooperate in a NATO-led missile defense system.

    Once again John Parker with the National Defense University.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gives a media briefing at the end of a NATO summit in Lisbon, 20 Nov 2010, coinciding with a NATO plan to deliver a historic invitation for Russia to join a missile shield protecting Europe against Iranian attacks
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gives a media briefing at the end of a NATO summit in Lisbon, 20 Nov 2010, coinciding with a NATO plan to deliver a historic invitation for Russia to join a missile shield protecting Europe against Iranian attacks

    "Politically it's very important. [Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev signaled a readiness to cooperate in discussions with NATO on European missile defense. What it will eventually turn out to be it's pretty hard to tell, but at least the two sides are going to be talking. So they are going to talk about how this cooperation might work out," said Parker. "The important thing for the Russians is that they are in on the ground floor on all of this and not just handed a plan and asked to sign up to it."

    Looking ahead, experts say Moscow and Washington should build on the progress made in 2010. A key event in 2011 will be the expected review of Moscow's application to become a member of the World Trade Organization - an application supported by the Obama administration.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.