A year ago, there was a rising fear that the US and Russia were on the verge of a new Cold War. Today the relationship seems to have gone 180. The US and Russia are now on the verge of signing a new nuclear disarmament agreement and look increasingly in sync on Iran. Yesterday, Obama met directly with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore where both leaders said negotiations on a new START agreement were close to completion. Medvedev also expressed his displeasure with Iran, giving another indication that Russia may back Obama should the Iranians reject the nuclear deal on the table. Following the meeting and Medvedev pronouncements, Obama concluded that “the reset button has worked.”
The turnaround in US-Russian relations is a huge foreign policy accomplishment for President. In the final years of the Bush administration US-Russian relations deteriorated to the point where many in the Bush administration were advocating an outwardly confrontational approach. This only escalated further following the Russia-Georgia war in August of 2008, as John McCain actively pushed for escalating the hostility. However, sensible foreign policy experts from both parties rejected this dangerous approach, arguing that the US needed to prevent relations from deteriorating further and should seek to establish a more grounded business-like relationship with the Russian.