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Russia as a Foreign Policy Priority for the United States

No matter who takes office following the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, he had better start making relations with Russia a top priority, argues an editorial in Sunday’s Boston Globe:

The next U.S. president will have to deal with an energy-rich Russia that bears little resemblance to either the vanished Soviet Union or the economic basket case of the immediate post-Soviet years. Though run by a mafia of Kremlin-connected moguls and KGB veterans, Russia has an abiding interest in cooperating with the West. Yet so far, John McCain and Barack Obama have paid too little attention to Russia and how it sees its role in the world. (…) Because the Bush administration’s mishandling of relations with Russia may be easier to rectify than some if its other blunders, Obama and McCain ought to be talking about their plans for the future of US-Russian relations. Russia can act either as a crucial partner or a troublesome spoiler on nettlesome security issues – the safeguarding of nuclear weapons and materials, nonproliferation, terrorism, and energy security. (…) Bush’s successors should relieve these Russian grievances. In return, the next president should be able to count on firm Russian support in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, combating terrorism, and managing the transition to a global economy bereft of cheap oil and natural gas. That should be America’s game plan.