Russia’s Obama Test

His vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, was the first one to say it during the campaign, and we agreed wholeheartedly that Barack Obama would face a serious test, predicting that it would be Moscow to take the debate.  We thought perhaps we had already experienced it with Dmitry Medvedev’s dreadfully miscalculated threat to put to missiles in Kaliningrad on the same day as his victory (even Venezuela and Iran sent their cordial congratulations).

But according to a top U.S. diplomat, John Rood, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, the testing is just about to begin.  Rood tells Reuters that so far talks with Russia are getting worse and worse, and that he senses that his counterparts handling arms control and security are currently delaying to assess the Obama team, and devise a strategy to push a hard line on the new president:  “They have paused with the election of a new administration in the United States, and they are looking carefully at the position of the new team,” Mr. Rood told reporters. “My assessment is that the Russians intend to test the mettle of the new administration and the new president.

Perhaps they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Strobe Talbott.