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14 Mar, 2008 13:38

U.S. has ‘neglected’ Russia: Dan Rather

Veteran U.S. newsman, Dan Rather, has told RT that the United States has neglected its relationship with Russia, which has led to a fundamental misunderstanding of the country by Americans.

Rather said Hillary Clinton’s recent stumble over the new Russian President’s name shows the growing lack of knowledge in America.

“I think it gives you an indication of how much lack of knowledge there is in the country as a whole because after all if a Senator Hillary Clinton did not know these things than what does it say about the rest of the population,” he said.

At the moment, Rather says, the situation between the U.S. and Russian governments is “one that every American should be concerned about”.
He doesn’t see it as a new Cold War, but a “whole new era, for which we need some new name”. However, this era is “dangerous because of misunderstanding”.

According to Rather, the biggest problem in terms of American foreign policy it that “it’s been neglectful of Russia”.

Rather told Russia Today that the best way of improving the relationship is more talk between both sides.

“The first thing is to talk, the second is to pay attention to what is happening inside the respective countries…I think there is more understanding within Russia and the Russian government about what is happening in the United States at the moment than there is with the American government and the American people,” he said.

He says that America has been focused squarely on terrorism since 9/11.

“One should never underestimate the impact of 9/11 on individual Americans and the country as a whole and perhaps we can be forgiven for this that it’s been our main focus and has been for seven years,” Rather said.

In a newspaper article before Russia’s election, Mr Rather said America must be a ‘smart opponent’.

“U.S.-Russian relations are currently as strained as they have been since the Cold War…If we're to be in opposition with Russia, let's be a smart opponent…Regardless of whatever power Putin may continue to wield from behind the scenes, a smart foreign policy sees opportunity in a new leader,” he wrote.