White House Forced to Rethink Russian Relationship

Georgia action prompts US to reconsider Moscow ties
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2008 9:40 AM CDT
George W. Bush, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin wave from fishing boat Fidelity III off Kennebunkport, Maine, Sunday afternoon, in this 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Russia's military action in Georgia was a rude awakening for the White House, forcing the Bush administration to reconsider the relationship it thought they had, the New York Times reports. President Bush has famously touted Vladimir Putin a reliable friend and diplomatic partner, despite policy differences, but cooperation across a wide range of spheres—what Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls the “ongoing and long-term strategic dialogue”—now looks to be in jeopardy.

“Russia’s behavior over the past week has called into question the entire premise of that dialogue and has profound implications for our security relationship going forward,” Gates said. The US and Russia have been at odds on Kosovo independence and the missile defense system Bush wants to mount in Eastern Europe, but the countries had cooperated on efforts to curtail nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. Bush aides complain that Russia has been evasive and say the administration will be far more wary of the Kremlin in future.