Though no longer a Cold War rival, Russia continues to pose immense challenges for the United States. The Kremlin’s perception of Russia as an “independent pole in a multi-polar world” often results in Russian policies that place the country at odds with the West. Russia’s current political elites are determined to prevent—and in some cases roll back—color revolutions in the former Soviet Union. They fear that successful democratization on Russia’s periphery will rouse similar demands at home. Regardless, the Kremlin’s ineffective authoritarian governance has stimulated a wave of large-scale protests in recent months that likely mark the beginning of Russia’s transition away from the Vladimir Putin era.
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Although U.S. President Barack Obama has signaled lately that he will attempt to revive the "reset" with Russia, Washington's best option may well be a strategic pause: a much-scaled-down mode of interaction that reflects the growing disparity in values and objectives between the two countries yet preserves frank dialogue and even cooperation in a few select areas.
As US President Barack Obama begins a second term, it is worth asking what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy goals are and what US priorities toward Russia should be.
The relationship between the United States and Russia is going through a difficult time. The “reset” policy has come to a logical end, but new ways of cooperation have not yet been found.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced last week that President Vladimir Putin had called to congratulate Barack Obama on his reelection and claimed that the American president accepted an invitation from Putin to come to Russia. Obama's plans, which have not yet been publicly announced, seem truly puzzling.