Dmitry Medvedev before the UNGA

What on earth do you think we’ll hear from the Russians this year?  A defensive and hostile discourse on the evils of the United States and the West, or a slightly more conciliatory tone about Russia’s long deserved global leadership?  In the Moscow Times, former diplomat Peter Belk writes about what he hopes will happen:

Russia can achieve significant political, security and economic gains by positioning itself in a more solution-oriented fashion on Iran, such as by boosting international confidence in its economy and financial sector. Because the road to Tehran does indeed run through Moscow, Russia should view its relationship with Iran as a valuable piece of leverage to advance other core Russian national security interests.

This concept, unfortunately, is nothing short of laughable.  The likelihood of Russia taking advantage of the UN General Assembly and G20 meetings to present a new willingness to cooperate with the international community on Iran is extremely low, even if as Belk points out such a policy could garner significant returns.

At the end of the day, Obama’s removal of the missile shield proposal is probably making this the most challenging UNGA that the tandemocracy has ever had to face.  The old script will not fit the new reality, but when confused, we can count on the siloviki to default to old instincts.