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7 Oct, 2008 01:17

Will U.S.-Russia relations see new beginning?

With the U.S. presidential election just over a month away, many are waiting to see if a new face in the White House will bring any changes to Washington's policy towards Moscow. Foreign policy advisors of the presidential candidates have explained how th

On this subject, the U.S. presidential candidates could hardly be more different. John McCain’s belligerent stance on Russia is nothing new. After all, this presidential candidate advocates kicking Russia out of the G8.

Yet his foreign policy advisor, Ariel Cohen, says the Arizona senator will make relations with Russia more predictable.

“John McCain is a person who can provide the stability and the predictability for U.S.-Russia relations. McCain recognises that the fight against terrorism is important but also he emphasizes the nature of the societies, the coalition for democracy that can be created worldwide,” Cohen explains.
There is at least one thing in common between the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and the U.S presidential candidate Barack Obama – both used to teach constitutional law. Obama’s foreign policy advisor, Celeste Wallander, says that’s enough to start talking.

“Russia needs to walk back into the international community,” she said. “Barack Obama has made clear in his statements that while he condemns Russia’s actions, nonetheless he will hold the door open to Russia to re-enter the international community, to end its self isolation and to get back on the pragmatic track of integration.”
One of the most contentious issues – the U.S. missile defence system in Europe – has also found its way on to the discussions. McCain’s advisor says his candidate will stick to the initial plan but may need a helping hand of the media.
Ariel Cohen said: “Media is an important battlefield and if we give up that instrument, we’ll pay a high price for that. The example of these ten missile interceptors – people don’t know and don’t understand these are not  threatening Russia’s nuclear arsenal at all.”

Obama’s advisor says there will be no rush in setting up interceptors and radar in Europe.
“Barack Obama has stated he will support research and development of missile defence capability as in the world we live it’s a serious risk. However, he’s also said the U.S. will deploy this system only once it’s been tested and proven to work,” Wallander said.

While the U.S.-Russian relations are now at their lowest point since the end of the Cold war, many in the business community suggest the U.S. presidential election presents the best chance of changing the political climate.

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