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Russia Reset Officially Fails

It’s one thing when Russia’s ‘bad cop’ Prime Minister Putin smacks you around.  That’s to be expected.  But now instead of offering us cigarettes and a cup of coffee, President Medvedev,  Russia’s ‘good cop’, is taking out the rubber hose.

Read it all in the New York Times.

In an interview Friday that was timed to the third anniversary of Russia’s war with Georgia, President Dmitri A. Medvedev said top United States officials played a key role in events that touched off the war, and offered a withering assessment of a recent Senate resolution on Georgia’s behalf, which he said reflected “the personal tastes of certain elderly members of the Senate.”

Shame about the reset; while it lasted, it was one of the Obama administration’s signature achievements.  There’ll be a longer post soon about the state of the US-Russia relationship.

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  • Damir Marusic

    Would you agree, though, that the Bush administration’s handling of Georgia was probably one of its most dangerous and reckless yet least-discussed screwups?

  • Alan Kellogg

    I wonder, would China be so reluctant to annex the Russian Far East if the U.S. weren’t around?

  • rkka

    “I wonder, would China be so reluctant to annex the Russian Far East if the U.S. weren’t around?”

    No. Chinese don’t particularly want to live there, and don’t particularly want to get nuked.

    A further reason the Russian government don’t share your perception of a “China threat” is that they understand that the Anglosphere foreign policy elite and punditocracy are even more hostile to Russian influence and interests than they are to China’s.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @rkka If the Russian elite thinks the Anglosphere is more hostile to Russia than to China, they aren’t paying attention. The sense is that the things Russia does that English speakers don’t like cripple Russia itself and that Russian influence is a self-limiting problem. In essence, that is what Kennan’s theory of containment said: Russians are a nuisance and under the right conditions they can make trouble — but don’t worry too much because they always trip over their own mistakes. The tendency is to see China as more capable, and therefore both a greater threat and a potentially more attractive partner. Not sure any of this is right, but Russian inability to ‘read’ the Anglospheric mindset, combined with firm Russian conviction that they are uniquely brilliant at this task, is one of the significant limits on Russian power development and foreign policy management.

  • Alan Kellogg

    Last I heard one quarter of the Russian Far East’s population were illegal Chinese immigrants. The Chinese take advantage of any possibility they see, and that includes moving into territory other people wouldn’t touch.

    Besides, should Russia collapse there will be nobody around to drop the bomb.

  • rkka

    Chinese come to trade, certainly. They tend not to stay long.

    And should Russia collapse, then mighty US will hardly be able to “save” the Far East for Russia.

    As to Kennan’s theory of hapless Russians being no real problem, he lost that policy battle to Paul Nitze more than six decades ago.

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