SHOWDOWN. Relations Between America And Russia Seriously Deteriorated
06 January 2014
By Markaz Kavkaz
The Washington Post reported on the serious
deterioration of relations between America and Russia.
In the article, "US relations with Russia face
critical tests in 2014 as Putin, Obama fail to fulfill
expectations", the newspaper in particular writes:
- With mutual trust all but gone, the United States
and Russia enter a new year full of challenges that
will test whether the world's nuclear giants can
salvage their relationship.
The Winter Olympics, the US withdrawal from
Afghanistan, the case of former National Security
Agency contractor Edward Snowden, turmoil in Ukraine
and Syria, and the uncharted consequences of the shale
gas boom all threaten to bring new difficulties and
US officials were interviewed for this article on the
condition of anonymity in order to speak frankly about
the meager gains of the administration's approach to
Russia. They acknowledged the difficulty of the
relationship but argued that engaging with Moscow is
better than the alternative.
When Obama entered the White House five years ago,
relations with Moscow were rockier than at any time
since the Soviet collapse.
But although no one knew it at the time, April 8,
2010, was the high point of the reset. Obama and
Medvedev had just signed the New START treaty, a pact
to cut nuclear arsenals, and it was a significant
result of the change in direction. Hopes of more to
come were high.
"Win-win," Medvedev called it. That was a phrase the
Americans loved to use in describing the objectives of
the reset. It's a thoroughly American notion — just as
the reset was a thoroughly American initiative. The
phrase, and the concept it describes, are utterly
lacking in Russia's political culture.
But the man who counted was Putin, at the time
Russia's prime minister — and Putin exemplifies the
your-win-is-my-loss tradition of Russian, and Soviet,
But Putin, now in his third term, has introduced an
ideological element into the relationship for the
first time since the Soviet era. Russia is taking a
sharply nationalistic turn and is claiming for itself
a unique set of homegrown values.
The reset got off to a good start. Less than three
months after his inauguration, Obama met Medvedev in
London and they agreed on an agenda focused on nuclear
arms reductions, nonproliferation and other security
Before two years had passed, virtually all of those
items had been addressed to the satisfaction of both
sides. In the specifics, the reset succeeded in
exactly what it had promised.
Trouble began with the Arab Spring. Putin was shocked
at what he saw as a US betrayal of Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak. Then came Libya. The protracted NATO
bombing campaign began and the Russians objected that
they had been deceived about the West's intentions.
Within the Pentagon, some officials warned that Russia
would be highly unlikely to allow a similar resolution
to get through the United Nations again — and events
in Syria proved that to be the case.
Putin's announcement, as the Libya campaign was still
unfolding, that he intended to return to the
presidency caught the White House flat-footed. Obama,
disdainful of Putin, hadn't even met with him since
July 2009. That, said Collins, wasn't very smart.
Deterioration of Relations between Moscow and
Washington after the parliamentary elections in 2011
in Russia showed growth of anti-American rhetoric, the
ban of USAID activity in Russia, Magnitsky Act in US
and a law banning adoptions of Russian children by
The United States and Russia, in any case, are heading
in separate directions — or wish they could. The
coming year brings a slew of challenges that will
force the two nations to engage, even if at arm's
length and with a palpable lack of enthusiasm, writes