High and low points in Obama’s effort to ‘reset’ U.S.-Russian relations

January 2
Four ‘reset’ highs

April 1, 2009 Moscow opens an air corridor allowing the United States to fly supplies through Russian airspace to Afghanistan.

April 8, 2010 The New START treaty, mandating further cuts in nuclear arms, is signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague. It is the most significant achievement of the reset.

July 21, 2011 Atlantis, the last U.S. space shuttle, ends its final mission. From this point onward, NASA relies on Russian rockets to take astronauts to the international space station. It is the most visible example of a number of programs that continue to enjoy effective U.S.-Russian cooperation.

Dec. 16, 2011: After 19 years of talks, Russia wins approval in Geneva for its bid to join the World Trade Organization. This is the reset’s last concrete result.

Eight ‘reset’ lows

Dec. 7, 2008 Obama, the president-elect, says Russia has to stop “bullying” its neighbors. Three weeks later, Russia turns off the natural-gas supply to Ukraine.

July 2, 2009 On the eve of a Moscow visit to include a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Obama tells the Associated Press: “Putin has one foot in the old ways of doing business.” Four years later, he likens Putin to “that bored boy who slouches in the back of the classroom.”

Sept. 17, 2009 On the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, Obama announces that the United States is scrapping plans to put missile-defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Poles are infuriated; the move has no effect on Russian hostility to the program.

June 27, 2010 Anna Chapman and nine others are arrested in the United States, suspected of being sleeper agents for Russia. Deported, they are greeted as heroes by Putin. Three years later, Ryan Fogle of the U.S. Embassy is detained by the Federal Security Service in Moscow and accused of trying to recruit Russian sources for the CIA. He is expelled.

Oct. 4, 2011 Having regretted standing by while NATO bombed Libya, Russia casts the first of its three vetoes in the United Nations blocking action against the Syrian regime.

Dec. 5, 2011 The day after an election brings angry protesters onto the streets of Moscow denouncing fraud, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raises “serious concerns.” Putin accuses her of fomenting the protests and interfering in Russia’s affairs, and launches a virulent anti-American campaign. Russia eventually tosses out USAID and takes Radio Liberty off the AM dial.

Dec. 14, 2012 The Magnitsky Act, placing visa and financial sanctions on certain Russian officials deemed to be corrupt, is signed by Obama, who had resisted it. Two weeks later, the retaliatory Dima Yakovlev law, banning adoptions of Russians by Americans, goes into effect.

June 23, 2013 Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden arrives at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport and is admitted into Russia 39 days later.

Three complicated moments

March 26, 2012 In Seoul, Obama tells Medvedev he can be more flexible on missile defense after the U.S. election. In America, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney calls Russia “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

April 15, 2013 Thomas E. Donilon, Obama’s national security adviser, presents a letter from Obama to Putin discussing a new agenda, including proposed further nuclear arms cuts. Putin expresses interest, but the White House later concludes it has received no substantive reply. That same day, the Boston Marathon bombing forces wary security services of both countries into closer cooperation.

Sept. 9, 2013 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggests eliminating Syrian chemical weapons in return for a U.S. agreement not to attack Damascus. The Obama administration takes him up on the offer.

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read National