Among the tragedies of the Bush administration is its failed policy towards Russia. Vladmir Putin is certainly not among the most fervent supporters for democracy in his nation, but efforts by George Bush to frighten and threaten Russia have only resulted in supporting those in that nation who oppose extension of democracy to use fear of attack from outside to justify imposing strict standards on opposition voices. Fortunately, the election of Barack Obama offers the United States and the world a new opportunity to reduce tensions and support the democracy movement in Russia. Both Putin and President Medvedev on Monday indicated they were looking forward to working with Obama for a new approach between the two nations.
“We hope that the new U.S. leadership will be more constructive, responsible and –this is quite important-farsighted,” said Putin. A good first step toward reducing tensions and opening the door for new initiatives would be to suspend the construction of missile bases in Poland. In fact, why not work with Russia by constructing the missile bases in Russia and allowing them to be jointly operated?