Of the military option and more attuned to the

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of the military option, and more attuned to the security interests of other states the United States has the right to hope that Russia will gradually understand that it is in its national interest to deal with its neighbors by adopting a strategy of reassurance rather than a crude one of wielding carrots and sticks, particularly sticks. US has to lead the effort, Russia is to skeptic Over last decade have allowed their suspicions of Washington fester to the point where they view everything as a coherent strategy to weaken Moscow Russian politics not stable Predicting long- term political trends in Russia, or even who or what will ultimately shape them, is a fool's endeavor. twists and turns likely to mark Russian foreign policy over the next few years will only reinforce these ambiguities. Russia's traumatic experience over the last two decades has given an intense emotional edge to its relations with the outside world, accentuating the gap between the international status Russia desires and the wherewithal it would need to obtain it. underlying tension leaves its leaders either unwilling or unable to compose a clear vision of Russia's place and role in the world. chances for a fresh start are better now than they have been in more than a decade, for two reasons. 1. U.S.-Russian relations bad during bush, so w/e Obama does is basically better
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The Russia File 17:53 2. economic crisis that began engulfing Russia last September has thus far softened the Russian leadership's demeanor. still insist that it is the Americans who need to shift positions on the issues that agitate them- NATO enlargement, ballistic missile defense in central Europe, and the failure to ratify the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty-the real proof of the economic crisis' bracing effect will only be clear when they soften their own less-than-accommodating attitude. Given the level of mistrust between Washington and Moscow, the Obama administration has rightly started to address the disrepair by tak- ing concrete steps. Hard because Russian leaders react hesitantly and look for traps and suspected ulterior motives Most important: repealing the Jackson-Vanik amendment swiftly Obama administration understands this and has placed it high on agenda place to start is with the three issues that the Obama administration has singled out in its early efforts to reengage Moscow 1. arms control (controlling strategic nuclear arms and strengthening the nuclear non- proliferation regime) both sides recognize, the first priority is reaching an agreement bridging the gap between the end of START I in December and the creation of a more ambitious strategic arms control accord that would pick up where the two sides left off12 years ago in preparing negotiations for START III 2. Iran Progress depends on if Russia's leaders can persuade themselves that the importance of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power outweighs the risks of harming their many other
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