Saturday, March 20, 2010

Russo-US Cooperation or Positioning?

A sudden warming of relations from Russia is stirring me a bit.

As Secretary of State Clinton visited Russia, Putin hinted that "Smart" sanctions against Iran are likely to gain support from Russia--this is a sudden turnaround from the Russian position over the last few years.

Putin further agreed with Clinton that an arms reduction treaty was in the works for early April. My impression of the treaty is that it's unlikely to change the geopolitical landscape, but nonetheless, it's a symbolic gesture of cooperation.

But Russia hasn't announced any plans to halt construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran, it isn't supporting US operations in Afghanistan, and it isn't backing off power plays in Estonia and Georgia.

It begs the question--is there serious cooperation occurring, or is Putin simply trying to put the US off-guard (or at least reduce its political mandate to act against Russian plans?). Ultimately, the Russians do not particularly wish the Iranians or Taliban well, but as long as they continue to be a thorn in America's side, Uncle Sam can do precious little to counter Russian expansion into former Soviet territory.
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