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Obama, Russia, and the Reset Button

The president's team pushes aside concerns about Russian revanchist policies.

12:00 AM, Jun 18, 2009 • By GARY SCHMITT
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All of which is to say, in the Obama team's rush to get a new arms control agreement--which, by the way, is being done before the congressionally-mandated Quadrennial Defense Review and Nuclear Posture Review have been completed--they have pushed aside concerns about Russian revanchist policies. This could be justified of course if the benefits to be gained were worth the price of ignoring the damage being done to American credibility in Russia's "near abroad." But they're not. All Obama will really get after an agreement is reached is a platform for more moral preening on the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons and a Moscow more likely to think that the United States and Europe have acceded to its claims regarding a "sphere of influence" in the post-Soviet space. This is a potentially high price, indeed.

Gary Schmitt is resident scholar and director of the American Enterprise Institute's Program on Advanced Strategic Studies.