Everybody Hates the Reset

This bit from Time magazine gets right at the central problem of the Obama administration’s reset policy with Russia – it just isn’t being reciprocated when there are so many advantages to keeping Washington as the great enemy.

But inside the Russian government, the trend was going in the opposite direction. Medvedev and other liberals still felt trust for Obama and seemed ready to meet him halfway. But conservatives — mainly old-school apparatchiks, security chiefs and former KGB officers like Putin — began to express their doubts about the reset in relations. “It’s been frustrating,” the U.S. senior official tells TIME on condition of anonymity. “We came in with an aggressive reset mentality, and it was not necessarily shared by everyone in the Russian government. The Russians are overwhelmed by all the things we want to do tomorrow, and they say, Let’s take time.”

Rogozin puts the matter more bluntly. “Medvedev sincerely believes that Obama can be trusted,” he tells TIME. “But that doesn’t mean this opinion is shared at every level, especially the levels where the implementation of their agreements is borne out.” This reality — the disconnect between what Medvedev pledges and what Russia does — has eroded the spirit behind the reset strategy as well as its practical objectives.