Ukrainska Pravda, Ukraine
Russia and US: Will No
“Reset” Take Place?
By Yuriy Dulerine
Translated By Olga Loza
4 February 2013
Edited by Kathleen Weinberger
Ukraine - Ukrainska Pravda - Original Article (Ukrainian)
Barack Obama, the president of the United States, decided to decline the invitation of his Russian colleague, Vladimir Putin, to visit Moscow this coming spring. This was reported by the influential New York Times newspaper. According to the information provided, the American leader is prepared to meet in St. Petersburg in September, during the summit of the leaders of 20 of the most economically powerful countries of the world, the G-20. Meanwhile, White House workers have asserted in confidential conversations with journalists that relations with Russia are no longer considered a priority by the U.S.
Such conclusions give reasons to affirm that the so-called "reset" of relations, solemnly proclaimed four years ago, has not yielded the desired results. Experts explain the recent cooling down of relations as a result of a whole range of moves made by Moscow, including forced suspension of the activity of American civil organizations that assist Russian human rights agencies and the ban on adoption of Russian orphans by American families in response to the American Magnitsky Act, which bans entrance to America for government officials violating human rights. Another reason might be the ban on importing American beef, allegedly due to the fact that on the other side of the ocean steroids are used to fatten cattle.
Besides, Americans are strongly against the increasing political repression in Russia. A final reason might be Russia’s demands to revise the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which Moscow considers to be disadvantageous. As Joe Siricioni, a representative of an influential American non-governmental foreign affairs council, remarks, these are all consecutive and purposeful steps made by the Russian government.
“It is part of Putin’s efforts to make Russia as estranged from the West as possible, and to more or less resist the U.S. This situation is not irremediable. Negotiations concerning the replacement of the former agreements, which would allow Russia to retrieve its advantageous positions, are still in progress,” states Siricioni.*
"Cold Shoulder" Toward Moscow
One way or another, the "cold shoulder" politics regarding Moscow are currently under discussion in Washington. The United States withdrew from the Civil Society Working Group. This is one of the 20 joint American-Russian groups created by the Obama-Medvedev Commission as a result of the "reset" of relations in 2009. Few people paid attention to this step, but another, more important one has been taken. Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, through Russian mass media and with great pomp, invited Barack Obama to visit Moscow this coming spring on behalf of Vladimir Putin. As a rule, media announcements are preceded by a bilateral agreement. As The New York Times reports, President Obama decided to not accept the invitation. The explanation offered by Obama is that the meeting will take place anyway in September, during the summit in St. Petersburg.
Stephen Cohen, historian and professor at Princeton University, warns, ”We might be heading towards the Cold War instead of the partnership which we were anticipating 20 years ago.”
Tony Blinken, National Security Council representative, told journalists that there is a real divergence of views with Moscow, and that the White House is not trying to conceal it. The divergence concerns the issues of human rights and democracy. Blinken expressed his hopes for the possibility of overcoming this divergence.
Nevertheless, in response, Putin’s representative Dmitry Peskov, as if demonstrating Russia’s "cold shoulder," declared that America has to keep aloof from Russian affairs: “We are a truly democratic country and can advise ourselves better.”*
*Editor’s Note: Although accurately translated, this quote could not be verified.
CLICK HERE FOR