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Russia, U.S. Hit ‘Reset’ Button on Relations

Posted on Mar 7, 2009
Clinton and Lavrov
AP photo

Beware of secretaries of state bearing gifts?: Clinton got Lavrov to press the “reset” button all right, but there was a slight problem—the Russian translation for “reset” was slightly off.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Friday with the goal of improving the chilly relations between the Kremlin and the White House left behind by Team Bush. Luckily, it seems that the Russians are open to the idea, despite a minor symbolic gaffe Clinton unwittingly committed.

President Dmitry Medvedev presented Russia’s stance for reaching a new arms control accord with the U.S., a day after the two countries agreed to “reset” relations that had reached a post-Cold War low under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Lavrov, in his first face-to-face talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday, agreed to a timetable to reach the year-end deadline. They also set the agenda on other issues, including Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea.

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By Sepharad, March 11, 2009 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

rollzone—Have you lost your mind? I know oil is killing us—wish the Saudis had discovered water, which is what they were looking for when they hit oil—and hope we get our act together and get off fossil fuels ASAP. But come on: tactical nuclear weapons? The same ones that, as the old Vietnam era song goes, “are gonna blow us all to a little old tactical hell?” And I thought Netanyahu was nuts.

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By Folktruther, March 11, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Those people are going to kill our children, Inherit, if we don’t get our shit together.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 10, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, March 9 at 6:08 am #

I’m sure you would press the button, Rollzone, especially against those Communist, vodka-drinking Russians.  Thank you for your reasoned discourse, which echoes the best of Trith.

For once you may be on to something, FT—must be all that vodka!  (And it took the French to make it better).

I can’t decide who’s crazier here:
We got a guy who wants to blow up Russia.
We got guys who want to blow up Israel.
We got a guy who wants to blow up Turkey.
We got a guy who wants to blow up the Palestinians.
We got guys who want to blow up Iran.

Where’s the guy who wants to blow up Iceland?
Where’s the guy who wants to blow up Belize?

Wouldn’t you all be better off getting blown instead?

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By Sepharad, March 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

coloradokarl—Best idea I’ve heard in a long time.
As long as Obama does not peer into Putin’s eyes in search of a soul, he’s bright enough to maneuver us onto at least the contents page. High time the EU dealt with problem of eastn bloc cuntries and we CAN’T taake sides here if we want Putin to life even a little finger re Iran & ME.

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By Folktruther, March 9, 2009 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

I’m sure you would press the button, Rollzone, especially against those Communist, vodka-drinking Russians.  Thank you for your reasoned discourse, which echoes the best of Trith.

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By rollzone, March 8, 2009 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

hello. i do not know this about that, but my opinion is that we should never align ourselves with a government that is willing to turn its military against its own people. the button pushing ceremony only prompted my thoughts of futile excursions into Afghanistan, that could better be served by some nuclear strategery- some tactical surgical mushroom clouds; over the poppy fields- that will scurry our little pharmaceutical lobbyists to congress with big bags of money: yeah; for our economy…and screw those nonhumanitarian ruskies that you want to bed for petrodollar leverage from the the leading cause of cancer in our lifetime: the burning of fossil fuels. we don’t need communists for allies, and i will never trust them. they want to destroy us from within… so jealous. vodka anyone? a bushel of wheat…a glass of vodka; a field of wheat for a case. where is that hot new rusky automobile competing on the market alike our nuked out competitors {(see what some well placed atomics can do for a civilization?)and i love the Japanese people, and i mean that in the best way}.show me the button, i’ll push it: show me the button!

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By Louise, March 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment


Oh come on, hokey is the name of the game of politics! And the Russians are as fond of it as every other politician in every other country! Which you would understand, or at least realize had you listened to the two on Friday. If Hillary did anything percieved as a bit askance it was just when she failed to understand Lavrov when he smiled at her and said how fond he was of her. But I suspect that might have been because of a delay in translation.

President Obama on the other hand suffers from a slightly different behavior than most politicians and most all you folks.

Like Folktruther, he’s just a cockeyed optimist!

“Cockeyed optimism is hard to come by when seemingly everyone in camp is either a re-tread, minor leaguer, or trying to keep important pieces from falling off of their bodies.”

But our prez manages to maintain. I like that. I also like the feeling we are back on track.
Feels good to have a president again!

[Feels good to get out of Bush’s Out-House! smile]

Feel ashamed? I suspect that’s related more to the results of eight years of undoing any good that’s been done in the last seven decades. Must feel positively lost at sea! And you clearly don’t know anything about Benjamin Franklin! Hokey comes in handy from time to time, as Ben well knew.

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By Folktruther, March 8, 2009 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

The TD commenters may be right and I’m afraid they are, but if there is one change that Obama could make in Bushite policies to make the world safer, it is the US relation to Russia.  Putting a first strike missile system on Russia’s border is just insanely crazy.  As is shoving Georgia and Ukraine into Nato.

But he may pursue this policy.  He is a protege of, among others, Zbig Bryrzinski, a transplanted Pole, whose whole career has been based on anti-Russian policy.  Even the Gop foreign policy experts are leery of him.  But it hasn’t been concluded yet, so maybe some change is possible.

Or maybe, as usual, I am being a cockeyed optimist.

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By jackpine savage, March 8, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

And imagine the brainstorming session where the best and the brightest in American foreign policy decided that the perfect photo op would be Clinton and Lavrov pushing a red button.

“Overcharge” Clinton has plenty more time to be dumb-ugly American in the room.  I shudder to think how often she’ll take advantage of the opportunity.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, March 8, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

What’s next, the “Easy” button from Staples??!!

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By dihey, March 8, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

What a hokey present! I am embarrassed and, if he were still alive, Benjamin Franklin would be ashamed as well. Can you imagine what Russian people thought when they saw on their TV what our country gave to their Foreign Minister?

Hillary: red buttons are not “reset buttons” but are panic buttons. It is beginning to become obvious that you and your boss Obama are hitting on the same red imperialist buttons as Bush with regards to Russia and Iran.

It will not work this time because we are a nation on the verge of bankruptcy.

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By Russian Paul, March 8, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Instead of taking this opportunity to offer a deal and end this missile defense shield, Obama regurgitates the same exact nonsense we heard during the Bush years about the need for protection from Iran. I also hear Clinton squawking out the same rhetoric about Georgia and NATO-ization. They do a good job of making everything SOUND more hopeful, but there is no change of policy here.

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By harryboy, March 8, 2009 at 1:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

coloradokarl’s comment is the best bit of American diplomacy I have read since the Kennedy election.
So why do’nt you guys do it ?

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By coloradokarl, March 7, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

As I have been saying for months, Hillary is on drugs. How much do we spend on the payroll for the State Dept.? $20 million? More? How incompetent is this? The Sec. of State has become a meaningless ceremonial position. Maybe Hillary is perfect for the Job? Obama should grab some General’s Fast jet and leave one afternoon on the sly and go get some face time with Putin. Bring a HOT BLONDE interpreter and a custom Smith and Wesson as a gift (the gun not the Blonde !). This might gain our young President some insight and trust. We need to find out if we are on the same page with the Russians or at least the title of the book. The eastern block countries are getting ready to fall apart and this is the E.U.‘s problem NOT OURS. We must not take sides. Putin can help with Iran and the rest of the mess in the Middle East.

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