Yesterday, U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey described the Obama Administration’s change to the White House’s approach with Russia: “President Obama is trying to get Russia’s help in convincing the Iranians to give up their ambitions of nuclear weapons, and they are encouraging our NATO partners to resume high-level relations with Russia. These relations, as we remember, were suspended after Russia’s military operation against Georgia 6 months ago.”
Where George W. Bush began with fawning attentions for the leaders of Russia and then switched to threatening distrust and suspension of relations, Barack Obama is seeking to re-engage Russia as a partner in foreign policy. Some say that this approach will surely encourage Russia to become more aggressive in its relationships with its neighbors. Others say that engaging with Russia in this way will encourage Russia to become more reasonable.
It’s a test case for diplomatic engagement. In a year from now, we should be able to come back and review the results.