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Obama in Moscow: can a tense relationship be "reset"?

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MziziMkavu, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    [​IMG]

    US, Russia poised to restart relationship


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    By Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers Tom Lasseter, Mcclatchy Newspapers – Sun Jul 5, 2:27 pm ET


    MOSCOW — When President Barack Obama flies into Moscow on Monday for meetings with Kremlin leadership, at the top of his agenda will be reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons capable of destroying life on Earth. And that might be the easy part.

    Obama's trip to Russia is viewed on both sides of the Atlantic as a chance to resuscitate relations between the two nations after they fell to post-Cold War lows during the presidency of George W. Bush .

    In order to do so, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appear to be taking a more pragmatic tack than did their predecessors: concentrating first on the issues that in the parlance of the diplomatic community are "deliverables," things that can get done, instead of getting stuck on thornier issues.

    There is measured hope that a combination of the financial crisis — which humbled Russian rhetoric after both a credit crunch and lower commodity prices hit hard here — and signals from Medvedev, however conflicted, that he's willing to pursue political reform, have created an opening for Obama to "reset" diplomatic ties.

    Progress is anticipated on arms control _expected to be a centerpiece of the agenda — as well as on trade, counter-narcotics and support for transporting Western military supplies to the Afghan theatre.

    It's a delicate task in an uncertain setting. To begin with, there is a question of whether Obama is dealing with the real leader of the country. The prime minister and former president, Vladimir Putin , is widely regarded as the ruler of Russia and the driving force behind a revival of nationalism and authoritarian rule here that's been funded by oil and gas money.

    During the past year, Putin was the most visible and bellicose representative of the Russian invasion of U.S. ally Georgia , and then the dispute that led to a cut-off of Russian gas to U.S. ally Ukraine and much of Europe .

    However, because of diplomatic protocol, Obama will spend more time with Medvedev, a friendlier face, than with the prime minister.

    American officials have said that they are aware of the complexities of Russia's "ruling tandem." Critics of the Kremlin warn that Putin's deep distrust of the West could short-circuit attempts for substantial change.

    In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, Obama acknowledged the dilemma. "I think that it's important that even as we move forward with President Medvedev, that Putin understands that the old Cold War approaches to U.S.-Russian relations is outdated, that it's time to move forward in a different direction," Obama said.

    "The problem is that Putin has based his campaign on anti-American rhetoric," said Boris Nemtsov , a deputy prime minister in the late 1990s and one of the few national political opposition leaders still in Russia . "Obama believes that democracy is a universal value, Putin believes that it is a universal threat."

    Obama and Medvedev have pledged to extend or replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) — a 1991 agreement to reduce the number of long-range nuclear warheads in both countries, which is set to expire in December.

    After their April meeting in London , the two leaders set an apparent benchmark by saying they'd go below the levels set by a 2002 pact, known as the Moscow Treaty, which calls for no more than between 1,700 to 2,200 strategic warheads in each country by the end of 2012.

    As with much of U.S.- Russia relations, the matter still faces a stumbling block.

    The Kremlin is angry about a planned U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe that was pushed by the Bush administration.

    Russian leaders say they fear that the system, which would be based in Poland and the Czech Republic , is not aimed at stopping an Iranian attack, as Washington insists, but rather at weakening Russia's nuclear deterrent - the cornerstone of its military power.

    Medvedev greeted Obama's victory at the polls last November by threatening to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad , near Poland , "to neutralize, if necessary, the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe ." The timing was inept, and has led some to wonder whether the speech was prepared for a win of the presidency by Arizona Sen. John McCain , the Republican candidate.

    Obama has said that the shield is under review, amid questions about its funding and whether it would actually work.

    One way around the standoff would be to link Russia to a broader anti-missile system, an offer that Washington raised but that Moscow so far has shunned.

    The disagreement about the shield taps into the broader problem that Russian officials and analysts say is at the core of troubles with the United States . This is the question of Russia's contested influence over the so-called "near abroad" countries. Russia's war with Georgia last August, for example, resulted in the de facto annexing of two regions in that country.

    While the Obama administration has signaled that it's not going to press NATO as aggressively as Bush did to admit Georgia and Ukraine , it's clear that those fault lines remain in place.

    During a teleconference last week, a U.S. official dealing with Russian affairs said that Obama is looking for ways to work with the Kremlin, but would not be willing to swap U.S. interests for Russian cooperation.

    "We are not in any way, in the name of the reset, abandoning our very close relationships with these two democracies, Ukraine and Georgia ," said Michael McFaul , senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council .

    For the Kremlin, there is little compromise on being able to project power in what is referred to here as a "privileged sphere."

    From the Russian viewpoint it's an existential matter, said Vyacheslav Nikonov , head of Politika, a pro-Kremlin think tank.

    Sergei Markov, a member of Russia's lower house of parliament who's seen as having close links to the Kremlin, agreed. "If you say, as Washington maintains, the Russian sphere of influence is limited by its border, it means that Washington is saying that Russia is not a great power," Markov said.

    Beyond the question of Russian power, and U.S. efforts to work with or check it, there are some in Moscow who worry that something else is being overlooked -- freedom.

    By focusing on arms control and other security-related matters, the thinking goes, the Obama administration could signal to hardliners in Moscow that America is embracing an approach in which U.S. national interests trump any message about spreading democracy and the rule of law.

    Russia is a country where human rights workers are harassed, ethnic minorities are publicly assaulted by gangs and those who pose a threat to the ruling powers have in the past been killed.

    "My fear is this agenda, only a hard security agenda, and Obama's dialogue only with the Kremlin, will be used by the traditional party of the Russian political establishment and by the Kremlin as ... an instrument to legitimize the current system," said Lilia Shevtsova , a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

    Obama officials say the president will spend much of his second day in Moscow speaking with civil society leaders, and giving what's billed as a major speech that's expected to at least touch on the question of open governance, a clear indication that democracy is still on the agenda.

    Before those meetings on Tuesday, though, Obama will have breakfast with a powerful Russian politician: Vladimir Putin .

    Source: Obama in Moscow: can a tense relationship be "reset"? - Yahoo! News
     
  2. Tumain

    Tumain JF-Expert Member

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    It was only two weeks ago Iranians President immediately after disputed election results his first official trip he went to Russia?? the iran necluar program is of great concern to washington politics. which in most case serves the jews lobby interests or determined by jews (Obama knows where power he has comes from??)
    lets starting putting dots...and see what will come from obama as far as Iran is concern....
    Although North Korea has lounge its missiles it does not seems to be topical issue, iran is more dangerous to washington politics than it does North korea...I guess.
     
  3. TANMO

    TANMO JF-Expert Member

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    Obama anataka kujenga uhusiano wa karibu na Medvedev ambaye hata kiumri ni kijana mwenzake kwa hope kuwa na jamaa wataelewana vizuri zaidi. Lakini anapokosea huyu bwana ni kitendo cha kum-ignore Putin katika mikakati yake hiyo ya kujenga uhusiano mzuri kati ya USA na Russia.

    US-RUSSIA relationship by any means depends on Putin as the matter of fact he is still the main dessicion maker in any of Russian international politics for the benefit of the the future Russia. So, in my point of view, Obama's critic to Putin doesn't change anything in US-RUSSIA relations or it may make it more worse. He better think of wise means to face the Guy.
     
  4. Tumain

    Tumain JF-Expert Member

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    You are right, kwa ku-ignore he is missing the point, lakini nafikiri kuna vitu vitaunganisha Russia and USA interest...iran issue and north korea? sijui wa- russia wanafaidi kwa kiwango gani kutoka north korea economically hiyo ndiyo bottom line ya uhusiano?
    Lakini inaeleweka kwamba russia wanaisaidia Irani nuclear technology ofcourse with junck amount of money in retun! sijui wata-compromise vipi? hiyo.
     
  5. TANMO

    TANMO JF-Expert Member

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    Mkuu, siyo kwamba kiuchumi Russia inaitegemea sana Iran katika kuwauzia bidhaa zake za kinyuklia. Hii nchi ina rasilimali nyingi sana na hata Jumuiya ya nchi za Ulaya kila siku wanawapigia magoti, inaweza kukubaliana na US kuiwekea vikwazo IRAN lakini wanaona kama wakifanya hivyo wataonekana kuwa na nidhamu ya woga kwa mabwana wakubwa, kitu ambacho hawakubaliani nacho.

    Mara nyingi unapotokea mfarakano baina ya US na Nchi nyingine, RUSSIA huchagua kutofungamana na upande wowote ili ku-maintain status yao pamoja na interest yao ya kutaka kuwa recognized zaidi kidunia kutokana na jinsi wenyewe wanavyojihisi kupuuzwa hasa na US. Mfano mzozo wa NORTH KOREA, ambao RUSSIA na CHINA ndiyo nchi pekee zilizokubalika na pande zote mbili mpaka zikafanikiwa kuusuluhisha, US walikuwa wameshachemsha pale (zaidi walishaanza kufikiria kuivamia kijeshi NORTH KOREA). Angalia mfano mwingine kwenye mzozo wa US na VENEZUELA.... Pia kuna suala la RUSSIA kutaka kuwa kiranja katika siasa za ASIA kitu ambacho US haitaki kukubaliana nacho, na hapo napo kunachangia hitilafu ya maelewano yao.

    Kama US wanataka uwepo uelewano wa kudumu hawana budi kukubaliana na ukweli kuwa RUSSIA ina nafasi yake ambayo haiwezi kupuuzwa hususani katika maamuzi makubwa yanayohusu Silaha za maangamizi.
     
  6. Richard

    Richard JF-Expert Member

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    Mimi sikubalianani na kichwa cha mtoa mada kwamba kuna "tense relationship" baina ya nchi hizi mbili, isipokuwa kuna kile kinachoonekan kwamba nani ana uwezo kiuchumi kwa sasa kwa kuzingatia kwamba Marekani bado ni mdhaifu kiuchumi.

    Nipo katika kuona kwamba Marekani na Russia zinakutana huku Mmarekani akiwa majeruhi kiuchumi na Russia ikiwa imejaa mifuko kwa dollars za mafuta. Pia nchi hizi mbili zina more in common kuliko tofauti zao.

    Isitoshe inajulikana kwamba Medvedev alipendekezwa na Vladmir Putin kuwa mgombea uraisi, kwa hio inawezekana kabisa kwamba kitufe cha maamuzi mazito bado kinabony'ezwa na bwana Putin na ni Putin huyo huyo atakutana na Obama leo jioni.

    Lakini kuna mambo matatu makuu ambayo inabidi tuelewe kwamba ni kwanini hawa watu Obama na Medvedev wanakutana.

    Kwanza ni kuhusu ku-reset uhusiano wao ambapo Mmarekani anamtaka Mrusi apunguze uwezo wa silaha zake nyuklia ambapo kwa sasa Russia ipo "busy" ku-stockpile silaha hizo kwa malengo ya kujilinda kutoka kwa maadui ambao ni Georgia, ambae amekuwa ni rafiki wa karibu wa nchi za magharibi na nchi za Poland ambayo umoja wa NATO unataka iwe kituo cha kijeshi kwa kuwa na vizuizi vya makombora ya nyulkia (Star War Shields) ambayo yanaweza kutokea kokote iwe North Korea au Iran dhidi ya bara la Ulaya.

    Sasa kwa mujibu wa mkataba wa vizuizi hivyo ni kwamba mkataba huo unaisha mwezi December mwaka huu na ndio maana inabidi nchi hizi mbili kubwa duniani zikutane mapema.

    Jambo lingine ambalo ndilo muhimu sana kwa sasa ni kwamba, Mmarekani anahitaji msaada sana kutoka kwa Russia kwa kuzingatia kwamba inabidi apitishe vifaa vyake vya kijeshi pale Moscow ili vifike kwa urahisi kule kwenye maeneo ya Afghanstan ambako resistance yake inawazidi wamarekani kwa kuzingatia kwamba njia iliyopo ni moja tu ya kupitia Uturuki. Ikumbukwe kwamba Russia ilipigana sana kule Afghanstan dhidi ya wanamgambo wa Taliban na wakashindwa kutokana na nchi hyo kuwa yenye mbonde na milima mikali.

    Jambo la mwisho ni kwamba Obama anataka kumshauri Medvedev kwamba wawe na kauli moja kuwashawishi North Korea na Iran ili waweze kuwapa mipango mingine mbadala ya maendeleo badala ya silaha hizo za hatari. Hii ni kwa kuzingatia kwamba ni technology inayotoka Russia ya kutengeza silaha hizi ndio inawapa uwezo nchi hizi mbili kuendeleza kwa mahitaji yao.

    Ni hayo tu.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  7. Che Guevara

    Che Guevara JF-Expert Member

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    The bottom line is that the US always wants to weaken Russia (and China whenever it can) as much as possible. Obama pretends to want cooperation with Russia, & wants the main topic of discussion be the reduction of nuclear warheads, while at the same time currently the US is so busy installing military bases in several former Warsaw pact members (Poland, Czech Rep.) as well as ex-soviet states (Georgia, Kirghiz Rep.).

    Russia is being encircled militarily by the US.

    Just suppose that Russia (or China) sets up their own military bases in Mexico...

    The US raised havoc about Russia's arms sales to other countries like Venezuela, while at the same time the US sells weapons to aggressive regimes like Israel and undemocratic and oppressive regimes like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

    Remember that the US supplied illegal phosphorus weapons to the Israelis who rained them onto Palestinian population in Gaza...

    Remember:
    Always the American media, mostly influenced by pro-Israel views, wants 'tough' leaders for the US and Israel, as well as 'soft' leaders for the other countries.
    This is the reason they praise Medvedev and denounce Putin, praise Mahmoud Abbas and hate Khaleed Meshaal and Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas, promote Mousavi and denounce Ahmadinejad, praise Hariri and speaks badly of Hezbollah of Lebanon.
    The US (and Israel) just want their puppets to be in power in other countries, so they can rule by remote control.

    Hamas won democratic elections in Palestine but the American puppet Mahmoud Abbas refused to hand over power...
     
  8. Eqlypz

    Eqlypz JF-Expert Member

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    Richard uko serious kuwa Russia ina stockpile Nuclear kwa sababu ya Georgia?
     
  9. Richard

    Richard JF-Expert Member

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    Mkuu,

    Kama unakumbuka mwaka 1990 Russia ilituma majeshi yake nchini Georgia na kitendo hicho kikalaaniwa sana ma Marekani kwani Georgia ni rafiki mkubwa au mshirika au "ally" wa Marekani katika eneo hilo.

    Urafiki huo upo katika kuhakikisha wale pro-American politicians wenye mitizamo ya kibeberu wanapata nafasi katika nchi hiyo na mwisho itoe ruhsa kwa Marekani kuweka mitambo ya kijeshi cha kujilinda au "defence missile systems" nchini humo-Georgia.

    Mitambo hio pia Marekani inataka ijenge katika nchi za Poland na Czech kitendo ambacho kinawaudhi sana Russia kwani wanaona kuwa kinahatarisha usalama wake.

    Ila tukirudi kwenye swali lako ni kwamba Russia na Georgia ni maadui, ingawa Russia ana ubavu kijeshi na Georgia anaegemea kwa mmarekani.
     
  10. Richard

    Richard JF-Expert Member

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    1. Wamekubaliana katika muda wa miaka saba, kupunguza "nyuklia warheads" hadi kufikia 1,500-1,675 kila upande.

    2.Russia imekubali Marekani ipitishe ndege za kijeshi mizigo yake ya kivita kuelekea nchini Afghanstani.

    Bado kuna mambo mengine mengi ambayo yanajadiliwa .
     
  11. Eqlypz

    Eqlypz JF-Expert Member

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    Kwa kifupi, Russia iko concerned na Georgia kupewa uanachama kwenye NATO na European Union..Lakini sio kuwa wanaogopa jeshi la Georgia. Na ukiangalia historia siku zote Georgia wamekuwa wakaidi kwa Urusi.
     
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