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

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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid