NATO summit as platform for US-Russia reSTART

Barack Obama has used the NATO summit to urge the Senate, once again, to ratify the strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia.

He says that good relations with Moscow are vital for many of Washington's initiatives. Are these ties really so vital?

Dmitry Suslov – a political analyst and member of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy – explains that America’s pragmatic co-operation with Russia is the founding principle of the US-Russia reset, something that the United States needs in order to achieve its vital interests.

“These vital interests are Iran, Afghanistan and non-proliferation. Without Russia, none of these are possible. And this is why the Obama administration has decided to improve relations with Russia to reduce the importance of such contradictions as Georgia, and so on, and so forth,” Suslov told RT.

“Moreover, Russia nowadays is the only success in foreign policy of the Obama administration,” he continued. “If we look at the relations between America and China, they are very problematic nowadays. With Europe there are also problems, as with Asian countries. But with Russia we have this profound improvement.”

“If that collapses, then the Obama administration won’t have any successes at all,” Suslov noted.

According to Paul Ingram, the Executive Director of the British American Security Information Council, Obama’s difficulties with convincing the Senate to ratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty are due to the Cold War mentality that still exists on both sides.

Speaking of the possible rejection of the START treaty by the US Senate, he believes there is a high possibility that it will be stalled, rather than voted down.

“If it is stalled, then clearly it will harm the prospects for future negotiations that follow, that use this as a foundation for the next round,” he told RT. “It will be impossible to have another round of arms control negotiations, as such.”

“If that treaty comes up for ratification on the floor of the Senate, it will pass,” said Ingram. “The debate is when it comes up for votes.”

He also pointed out that the objections are largely about not having enough time to properly scrutinize the treaty:

“Senators have had eight or nine months to do this – it’s plenty of time compared to previous treaties.”