The new US administration prepared a list of suggestions to improve relations with Russia on the threshold of the first meeting between Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev. The meeting is to take place on April 1 in London.
“The Right Direction for the US Policy Towards Russia” report produced a positive impression on the Kremlin, The Kommersant newspaper wrote Wednesday. The document says that the United States must be more careful in its criticism against Russia as far as the situation with human rights in Russia is concerned. In addition, the USA must help Russia join the WTO and acknowledge that Moscow has legal interests in the former USSR. To crown it all, the report says that the USA must not grant the NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia.
The report, which was prepared by the Commission for the US Policy Towards Russia, says the US determination to improve the relations with Russia is not a reward, which must be given to Moscow for its fine behavior on the international arena. It acknowledges the importance of cooperation with Russia because it could help the United States pursue its goals. The goals, which the USA seems to be unable to achieve without Russia, include the prevention of the Iranian nuclear program, the destruction of Al-Qaeda, the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan and the provision of security in Europe.
The authors of the report believe that all previous US administrations did not understand Russia. Therefore, they wrote, the sitting US administration must improve its understanding of Russia’s interests that way that the Russians see them.
In accordance with the report, the United States needs to revise its missile defense systems in Eastern Europe and develop a new approach as far as the potential Iranian nuclear threat was concerned. Secondly, the USA must find another way to show the support towards the pro-Western aspirations of the Ukrainian and the Georgian governments. The new administration also ought to resume its cooperation with Russia in the field of the anti-terrorist struggle and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, in order to develop a new treaty to replace the START Treaty. Finally, the USA will help Russia become a WTO member and will take efforts to cancel the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
More importantly, the Commission advised Washington should be more careful in its criticism of Russia’s internal affairs and the home situation with human rights. The members of the commission said that the USA must pay special attention to Russian leaders’ statements about their commitment to democracy and international obligations to defend human rights. The USA must respect Russia’s sovereignty, history and traditions .
The commission also said that the United States must acknowledge the post-Soviet space the zone of Russia’s special interests. The authors of the report said that America’s strategic interests implied no domination of one separate country in Europe, Asia or in the Middle East.
At the same time, the report recommends the US government to support Europe’s efforts aimed at the development of non-Russian sources of natural gas. Russia may choose an unacceptable way of development, the report said. Therefore, the United States must do its best not to push Russia towards such a decision, although America must be prepared to react to it, if it eventually happens.