Leverage Lost

From the Washington Post’s coverage of Rice’s non-confrontational visit with Putin:

After meeting with Rice on Saturday morning at the U.S. ambassador’s residence, Tatyana Lokshina, head of the Demos Center, a Russian human rights group, described the secretary of state as an “impressive and an interesting interlocutor” but said Rice and other officials had lost leverage over democracy in Russia because of Iraq and other issues. “Whatever criticism the Russian authorities get is wasted to a large extent since the Russians say the U.S. does not have the right to criticize us because of their own record. American criticism alone, the American voice alone, cannot be effective today,” she said in an interview afterward. Lokshina said that when she challenged Rice over the U.S. detention facility for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Rice responded, “We never lost the high ground.”