The merits of a Russian relationship

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA),  October 7, 2009.

From John Kerry, Politico:  One year ago, the Obama administration launched an initiative to “reset” relations with Russia. As Russian President Dmitri Medvedev lands in Washington Tuesday, it’s clear that the outreach — which carried significant diplomatic and political risk — is paying off. …

The cornerstone of our new cooperation is a new strategic arms reduction treaty. The treaty significantly reduces the legal ceiling on both sides’ deployed nuclear warheads and replaces the verification regime that expired with the old START treaty last December. …

The second major achievement of our outreach has been Russia’s increased cooperation in addressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Until recently, Russia opposed further sanctions. But we worked to convince Russia that the threat was genuine. 

Last month, Russian support was decisive in tipping the balance at the United Nations Security Council in favor of tough new sanctions. After that vote, Russia scrapped the sale of strategically crucial anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran. …

This week’s energy disagreement between Russia and Belarus reminds us that Moscow can use its vast natural resources to assert what it believes to be its national interest.

Going forward, our challenge will be to translate the progress we’ve made into ever-deeper cooperation. Trade between our nations is woefully underdeveloped. We should continue to help Russia’s bid for World Trade Organization membership, which would help increase global confidence in Russia’s markets and promote trade and investment.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  (photo: Getty)

Image: getty%206%2022%2010%20Senator%20John%20Kerry.jpg