News / Europe

Relations Between Washington and Moscow on the Mend

President Barack Obama meets with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Yokohama,  Japan, 14 Nov 2010
President Barack Obama meets with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Yokohama, Japan, 14 Nov 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Most experts agree that relations between the United States and Moscow are better now than they've been for several years.

President Barack Obama has made better relations with Russia a cornerstone of his foreign policy. Soon after he was sworn in as president two years ago, he vowed to "reset" relations with Moscow that were strained during the last few years of the Bush administration. Many experts say relations between the two countries are certainly on a better footing.

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni takes a more cautious approach, saying relations between the two countries have to be managed carefully.

"Russia is going to be a significant power. I think [the Russians] are resurgent in some ways. They are looking for their place in the world," said Zinni.  "They are still blistered from the loss of influence in Eastern Europe and even in the southern parts of their borders that they blame us for. I think it's a relationship that needs a lot of work."

For his part, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft says Moscow and Washington are beginning to work together.

"And it's going to be a long, slow process, because there is still a lot of suspicion and they don't do things the way we like," said Scowcroft.  "And they have an innate hostility to us. We don't think that anybody lost the Cold War, but they certainly do. So they are still suffering from the fact that we came out of it well and their whole way of life was destroyed. So we've got a long way to go, but I think we're on the right track."

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger sees Russia playing a much greater role internationally.

"The Russians right now are in the process of trying to become more aggressive on the world scene," said Eagleburger.  "And you have to understand as well that Moscow now, Russia now, is not in any position equal to that of the former Soviet Union. It is much weaker, much less influential on the world scene. And some of that influence on the world scene and a stronger economic and political position in the world is what Russia is driving hard for. And that has and will continue to make for some differences between the two of us."

Experts say both sides bridged differences as they agreed last year to a new treaty reducing strategic/long-range nuclear weapons.

Brent Scowcroft says Senate ratification of the treaty was essential in keeping the momentum going in the Washington/Moscow relationship.

"It was critical to this 'reset' because had we rejected that treaty, we would have been rejecting a closer relationship with Russia," added Scowcroft.  "Now all the treaty really does is open the door to further progress between the two on nuclear arms control, should we decide to go that way. The U.S. and Russia still possess 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. Making the nuclear balance more stable, making progress whether you are a fan of zero nuclear weapons or not, making progress so that nuclear weapons are never used, is very important."

Experts say the next logical step would be for Washington and Moscow to focus their attention on reducing short-range/tactical nuclear weapons.

Analysts say another example of better relations between Russia and the United States is that Moscow toughened its position on Iran. It cancelled the delivery to Tehran of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, a deal dating back to 2007. Russia also voted 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.

Once again, retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni.

"The more we can get the Security Council to be united in how we handle Iran, the better it is," noted retired Marine Corps General Zinni.  "And obviously, the two parties that we are most concerned with are Russia and China, showing Iran that there is international cooperation and an international sense of what their behavior should be. Getting Russia to participate in that is critically important. I would like to see China more cooperative in that sense too."

Looking ahead, many experts say Washington and Moscow should build on the progress made in 2010.  Possible new arms control talks and Russia's application to become a member of the World Trade Organization are two key issues facing Washington and Moscow in the months ahead.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid