Kissinger: US Must Temper Approach as Russia Evolves

Medvedev's election may signal real political change, so ease back on the bullying
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 11:41 AM CDT
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, center, and US President George W. Bush, right, pose for a group photo at the G8 summit in Japan today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Dmitry Medvedev has more power than some in the West believe, and Russia's political system is still evolving as Vladimir Putin moves from president to prime minister, Henry Kissinger writes in the Washington Post—and it behooves the US to throttle back. "The pace of such an evolution will inevitably be Russian," he writes. "We can affect it more by patience and historical understanding than by offended disengagement and public exhortations."

Putin remains powerful, but Kissinger interprets Putin’s policies “as driven by a quest for a reliable strategic partner, with America being the preferred choice.” On many issues, like nuclear proliferation, interests still coincide, and cooperation is possible if the US gives Russia space and respect—and it can start by forgetting plans to put weapon systems in Ukraine.