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5 Mar, 2009 10:31

Russia - US relations: experts have their say

Every relationship has its ups and downs and US and Russia are a prime example. Still, with the new president, the hope is that things will improve between the pair.

Experts, however, cannot agree on what US priorities should be.

Ivan Eland of the Independent Institute says that America’s present strategy should take into account the fact that while the US is in the Russian neighborhood, Russia is not in theirs.

“We need to re-evaluate whether we want to continue to bring former Soviet republics into NATO. If we can have a little more empathy with Russia, it would be good,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ariel Cohen, senior research fellow of the Heritage Foundation, thinks that Russia needs to understand that it cannot be the number one priority on Obama’s agenda at the moment.

“Domestically, we have a very difficult economic crisis,” he said. “Internationally, we have problems in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, Iran and Iraq.”

Dr James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies thinks that it is now Russia’s turn to pass the ball.

“The US has signalled a willingness to make a few concessions, but we’ll be looking to see what we get back from the Russians,” he said.