Since the Obama administration took charge of the White House the irritation that marked relations with the Kremlin, under previous president George W Bush, has been replaced by a warmer pragmatism.
Obama’s decision to scrap Bush’s plans for a missile defence shield located in Poland and the Czech Republic has helped. In return Obama wants Russia’s backing on a number of foreign policy issues, namely Iran. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton: “ We are speaking with a single voice and delivering a clear message to Iran. The international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations.” The discovery that the Iranians have developed a second uranium enrichment plant drew a quick western response with Obama, backed by Britain and France, calling on Iran to halt its nuclear ambitions. Russia, so often against the wisdom of imposing sanctions, appears to be warming to the idea with President Dimitry Medvedev claiming at the UN that sanctions are “sometimes unavoidable.” There is more with both Hilary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claiming talks on the nuclear arms reduction agreements, to replace the landmark START-1 are coming along nicely.