Vladimir Putin’s tightening of the screws is a part of a broader pattern, which includes a return to confrontation with the United States and NATO. The United States must specifically recognize that its “reset” policy of see no evil, hear no evil has contributed to the trampling of human rights in Russia.
Moscow is cozying up to China, supporting the Assad regime in Syria and ignoring the Iranian nuclear race. The Kremlin is hard at work to create a sphere of influence along its periphery and a “pole” in the multipolar world that would stand up to Washington.
Recent developments have an unmistakably flavor of the 1920s and 1930s, when the Soviets sent people the Gulag simply for who they were, not for what they did. For example, the Cheka — the grandfather of Russia’s security service, the F.S.B — preventively arrested those of noble descent or with relatives abroad.
The recent legislative developments have severe geopolitical implications. Putin is implementing a “Fortress Russia” policy, which is based on repression at home and confrontation abroad. It is used to justify a $700 billion military buildup.
The Obama administration “reset” needs a serious reassessment, and so does the overall relationship with Russia. America should pursue its national interests in relations with Moscow, instead of chasing a feel-good mirage.
Washington should work to advance individual rights, democracy and free media through public diplomacy and pinpointed support of worthy causes. Washington should cooperate with those along the Russian periphery and in Europe who are concerned about the growth of Russia’s sphere of influence. Finally, the United States and its allies should engage international organizations, expert communities, mass and social media to counter the crackdown in Russia.
It is preferable to engage now, before the specter of a more authoritarian Russia once again haunts Europe — and the world.
Read the entire New York Times article here
Cohen is of course right about Putin's Russia. However, it is not likely that Barack Obama has the courage to change his failed "reset" policy. The only chance to reset the "reset" is to refuse him a second term.