Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Time to Retire the Reset

That's what I argue in the New Atlanticist today. Partnership with Russia is not on the agenda; it is not a matter of rephrasing things nicely--because our interests and theirs are out of alignment.

Perhaps, I don't understand Americans. I've thought that stepping back was the whole point of this "resetting" effort. The U.S. were in a proxy war with Russia, albeit a short one, just a year and few months ago. Real partnership is very difficult to establish against this background even if both parties need it, which also questionable.
Anon, it's precisely because we're Americans that the "reset" failed. It is our national habit to make demands of the Russian government, reciprocate nothing (Jackson-Vanik? Still there, despite the fact that Russia and Israel have VISA-FREE TRAVEL), and then wonder why the Russian government refuses to fall all over itself to do the stuff we want them to do.
I guess it means that stepping back, not making things worse, is not a small achievement given the background.
One needs to spend political capital to convince Congress to repeal Jackson-Vanik. At the moment there does not appear to be a sound reason for Obama's administration to do it. The political will is not there since the administration has more important worries. And the volume of US-Russia trade is laughable (as compared to other “large” economies), so Russia is not quite relevant economically to be fought for. Finally, it is perceived as a leverage over Russia by many in Congress, so they will not give it up easily.
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