US President, Barack Obama, has scheduled a visit to Moscow, Russia to discuss various political issues and reconciliation with Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin and with Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev. President Obama aspires to update the approach of diplomacy between Russia and the United States.
Obama describes Putin’s approach with the US as still having, “one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new.” Since Obama feels that the “old Cold War approaches” are “outdated”, he will attempt to develop a more timely relationship with Russia. Obama believes that Putin still has a lot of influence in Russia and hopes to reconcile as many differences as possible between them.
In April 2005, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s then-president, made a speech stating that Russia will develop democracy at its own pace and will not tolerate any outside interference from the United States. Since that speech, Putin has not progressed his views about relations with the United States. This is an attitude that Obama hopes to correct.
A motivating factor in Obama’s upcoming visit to Moscow is partly attributed to his outreach vow to foreign leaders. Obama is looking to develop a “very good relationship” with Medvedev, Russia’s president. Part of Obama’s approach with Russia is to reduce nuclear arms in the world.
Obama admits that Russia has not been an obstacle in confronting Iran or North Korea in their zeal to amass nuclear arms. However, Obama would like open communication with Russia instead of propaganda, posturing or messaging.
Indeed, communication and good relations are in order. As of last week, Russia debuted its 16 year-old project, its strategic nuclear-powered Yury Dolgoruki submarine. Testing has uncovered that the submarine vessel cannot accommodate Russia’s Bulava rocket, but nonetheless Russia’s Defense Ministry reports that this will be corrected in the next year.
Another challenge for Obama, standing in the way of a successful meeting with Russia, is the underground whispers of dissension between Putin and Medvedev. There are rumors between the two cabinets in Russia that “they may be playing various games” with each other.
Just in the last few days, the two leaders have confronted each other on gambling matters and retail sales. Another hurdle for Obama is the on-going conflict between the country of Georgia and Russia. Last August, the two countries engaged in a war lasting five days. Though the two countries publicly disagreed today in Geneva about their politics, more talks are scheduled to resume in Geneva on July 14 and on Sept. 17. It is Obama’s goal to further discuss a solution to the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
As Obama plans to visit Moscow this month, he might not receive the adulation that he did in Germany and in Cairo, inspiring his audience toward conflict resolution. Obama is predicted to be disappointed by Russia’s confidence in him. A recent poll by the BBC found that only 23 percent of Russians felt confident that Obama will “do the right thing in world affairs.”