Russia’s Rule of Law and Deep Security

obamamedved070909.jpgHere’s the latest article by Robert Amsterdam posted to Huffington Post:

President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev should be good friends by now. Following his visit with the family to the Kremlin earlier this week, the two traveled onward to L’Aquila, Italy for the G8 Summit. This is probably the most consecutive face time that Obama and Medvedev will share over the next few years, and also a critical moment spotlighting what kind of strategy Washington will be taking toward Russia.

Summits are imperfect yardsticks, but so far is looks like the relationship is off to a strong, if not historic, start. It is a strong beginning because modest foundations were laid toward signing a replacement for the START-1 treaty, with good potential to deepen strategic arms cuts in the future. It was historic because Obama disproved the theory coming from the realists which implies that we must avoid conflict and that we cannot criticize Russia’s human rights abuses and democratic shortcomings while at the same time cooperating on mutual interests (of course if that were true, than the interests would not be mutual). There even seemed to be a very rare consensus among the Russian presidency and its beleaguered opposition that they were satisfied with the visit.

But what the back-to-back summits also revealed was an emergence of a more definable Obama doctrine, balancing “hard security” issues like arms and nuclear proliferation against “deep security” issues like rule of law and governance. The foreign policy-making we got to see this week was not for short-term domestic consumption, but was rather looking four moves ahead, laying the seeds for a convergence between both rule of law and security.

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