The influential US magazine Foreign Policy published an article by Michael Weiss, "Putin's Got America Right Where He Wants It", co-chair of the Henry Jackson Society's Russia Studies Center, in which he indicates that the reset of US-Russian relations is dead.
New course of Obama's White House was doomed from the beginning, and the Russian government, becoming more authoritarian, perfectly learned to twist and turn Obama's Washington.
His conciliatory policy of relations with Russia, the Obama administration had founded on two phantom premises -- first, that Putin's puppet Medvedev was actually running the country; and second, that Medvedev was the liberal modernizer that he claimed to be. The men and women who have paid the price for Obama's gullibility on these points are the beaten-down Russian dissidents. Even as they have begun the hard work of constructing a domestic opposition movement, they have been denied even "token support by the White House".
"We have been hit heavily in the last couple of months with brutal detentions during protests, arrests, and searches and would have liked a firm reaction from the US", said anti-corruption activist Natalia Pelevine. "We have not seen it. This is especially humorous in view of the much-promoted idea in Russia that the opposition is paid by the US State Department".
Even the architect of the reset policy has learned the hard way how the Kremlin deals with the mildest criticism. US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, in a recent interview with Foreign Policy, expressed shock at how badly he's been harangued since his arrival in Moscow. "What I did not anticipate, honestly was the ... relentless anti-Americanism that we're seeing right now", he said.
His predecessor, John Beyrle, vividly documented the scale and the intensity of state-directed anti-Americanism that he experienced as America's man in Moscow in a WikiLeaked cable written in November 2009.
Beyrle wrote to Washington that the Russians, ideologically and materially threatened by the reset, have convinced themselves that the West is guilty of fomenting democratic regime change in Russia's neighbors. He also wrote about the brutal persecution of embassy personnel by the FSB (former KGB).
It might have been possible to justify a "Faustian deal with Putin" if Russia joined the international pressure on Iran. However, Moscow plays its own clever game of offering minimal concessions in exchange for maximum benefit
The of champions of reset (previously, in the 1970s under Carter, this criminal and short-sighted policy of Washington was called detente) are often mentioned that Russia backed the UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed sanctions on Tehran.
Yet the price of getting Russia and China on board meant that the resolution was watered down and never included a full arms embargo. Also Putin has helped build Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr and offered repeatedly to enrich its uranium in Russia.
Russian obstructionism should come as little surprise, as the status quo of minimal sanctions and persistent international tensions over the Iranian nuclear problem keeps oil prices high -- an economic boon for Moscow. And as European banks end their dealings with Tehran, little-known institutions such as the First Czech-Russian Bank have done a brisk trade, charging more than six percent per transaction. Moscow has also served as Iran's arms dealer -- selling more than $ 5 billion in military equipment to Tehran in the past decade.
The magazine does not share the enthusiasm of the reset advocates in connection with the Russian refusal to supply Iran with S-300s:
"By why would Putin ever would agree to sell such sophisticated missiles to the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism in the first place? Because his preferred style is to create a minor problem, then solve it and take a disproportionately long bow".
This is even true when it comes to the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) in Afghanistan. Since September 2009, NATO has been able to transport non-lethal supplies and equipment to Afghanistan through Russia. And since November 2011, when Pakistan closed the supply routes that ran through its territory the NDN has grown even more crucial to the international war in Afghanistan. But even Russia's professed support for the NATO mission -- a product of the Kremlin's own self-interest -- hasn't stopped it from making life difficult for the United States. Key Central Asian states' commitment to allowing the traffic to continue is in doubt.
According to McFaul, who told the truth at a recent lecture that Russia, he said, had bribed the Kyrgyz government in an attempt to close the US military base at Manas, through which critical materiel is flown into Afghanistan.
Putin's friend, the Syrian dictator Assad, has also finished off the reset. He declared insolvent Moscow's attempts to put the responsibility for the violence in Syria, in particular, for the bloody massacre in Houla, on both sides of the conflict and calls the perversion of Putin's words that the external forces helping the Syrian opposition, undermine the Annan plan - as his supplier of arms is "Rosoboronexport continued to run weaponry to Assad".
Russia does not stop trying to deliver Syria attack helicopters. And in the future Damascus will receive from Moscow fighter jets and even more advanced air-defense systems.
And yet, the Obama administration continues to try to woo the Kremlin, hoping to receive approval for the Yemeni model of regime change in Syria. But here, the US will face a fiasco.
In the spirit of the Cold War, Moscow hopes to compete with the West for global influence, and another proof of this is its attempts to influence neighboring countries.
Russia has grossly violated the cease-fire agreement with Georgia and upped its military in the Tskhinvali region and in Abkhazia, but thus received support from Washington for accession to the WTO. Such accommodation hasn't helped rid Putin of the idea that Georgia belongs within Russia's imperial demesne.
Meanwhile, as evidenced by a renowned expert on Russia Edward Lucas in his new book, "Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today", the GRU, Russian military intelligence, is tasked with waging destabilization operations in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia -- not the SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service.
For Putin the objectives are to weaken Georgia's defenses, keep it out of NATO, counteract its pro-European tilt, and establish a Russian "fifth column" inside the country.
According to Lucas, the GRU has been credibly linked by US and Georgian intelligence to at least a dozen successful or abortive terrorist attacks in Georgia, including one near the US Embassy and NATO liaison office in Tiblisi.
Even though Georgia's accession to NATO is a remote prospect, that hasn't stopped Russian officials from suggesting it would be willing to spark a global war to prevent such an eventuality.
Just last month, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, Russia's military chief of staff, said that Moscow might well resort to launching a "pre-emptive strike" on any NATO installation at Russia's borders (Russia's borders with Georgia are only through the territory of occupied by it the Caucasus Emirate - KC).
The Obama administration's response to these provocations has been rank appeasement, framed as adherence to the reset.
Remarkably, the White House sided with Putin on the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. This legislation would not only impose travel bans and asset freezes against the 60 Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky case, but carries a universal clause that applies to gross human rights violators in any foreign country. This is why an ever-growing number of Russians supports the bill and Putin wholeheartedly opposes it. Remarkably, the White House sided with Putin.
The real letdown for Russians is that the attempt to quash the Magnitsky Act has revealed the true motivation of the reset. It wasn't about improving bilateral relations -- it was about "flattering a mafia state into some measure of compromise, then kidding ourselves into thinking that the mafia state had changed its ways".
But perhaps the only achievement of reset is that the disillusionment of the liberal intelligentsia, the one Russian group traditionally a stalwart American ally. Lilia Shevtsova, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center argued in a recent essay in the American Interest that today's equivalent of the Soviet dissident isn't looking to Washington for moral or intellectual support anymore. The Russia's liberals are now focused on the criticism of appeasement of the Kremlin from the Obama administration and the rejection of the normative dimension in dealing with Putin.
In other words, the reset policy of US has achieved the worst of all possible outcomes: it has made a renewed enemy of Putin, and it's alienated the best and brightest of our would-be allies too, says Foreign Policy.
Department of Monitoring