U.S.-Russian Business Blog

Monday, 6 of April of 2020

A Thaw in Relations with Russia?

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US Vice President Joe Biden gave a hint to the Obama administration’s attitude toward relations with Russia at the International Conference on Security Policy in Munich, Germany on 07 Feb 2009.

Throughout eight years of the Bush administration relations between the United States and Russia have been steadily deteriorating, and occasional flare ups have caused a lot of friction, misunderstanding and frustration. In Munich VP Biden signaled a willingness to end the downward spiral. “It’s time to press the reset button,” he said. “And to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.”

Marshall Goldman from Harvard University, says Mr. Biden’s speech set a new tone for relations between Washington and Moscow.

“When you say ‘reset’ that means you clear the computer and that opens up all kinds of new opportunities and you’re not going to be held back by past commitments which have been controversial,” he said. “This provides an opportunity that maybe only a new administration could do because they don’t have to be held down by complications that arose under the past government.”

Russia is clearly against the Bush administration’s plan to put a missiles in Eastern Europe. Joe Biden: ”We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven and is cost effective, and we will do so in consultation with our NATO allies and with Russia.” Robert Legvold from Columbia University says it’s a departure from the Bush administration’s view to go ahead with the defense shield whether it’s feasible or not. “The basic position is we’re not going forward with this unless it’s technologically feasible and unless it’s something that we can get agreement with at least the allies,” he said. “And in doing so, we also want to consult the Russians… and  achieve an outcome that is acceptable to Russia and one that Russia buys into.”

Senior Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, reacted positively to the vice president’s speech. But in an interview with the Russia Today television program, Ivanov was more cautious.

“From my previous experience - I’m 56 already - I saw a lot of thaws,” he said. “I saw a lot of good intentions which ended nowhere. I hope this time it won’t be the case.”

Business executives are watching this development with hope. Most agree that now is the time to start rebuilding U.S.-Russian political and business relations on the positive tone set out by U.S. VP Joe Biden.

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