Russian Veto Endangers Reset
Polemics Erupt Between US And Russia Menacing The Reset Policy

Improved relations between Russia and the US have been dealt a setback as a result of the Russian veto of a resolution on Syria.

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Amiel Ungar,

Michael McFaul
Michael McFaul
Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Department of State

One outcome of Russia's vetoing the UN Security Council resolution calling upon Bashar Assad of Syria to step down, is the damage that it does to the "reset" policy of the Obama administration..

Obama and his White House adviser and now ambassadorial to Russia, Michael McFaul tried to put relations with Russia on a businesslike relationship and manage the differences.

The Russians for their part have already announced their preference for Obama's reelection and particularly in the event that the Republican nominee proves to be Mitt Romney. Romney has called for a reset of the reset because Romney agrees with the Republican nominee in 2008 John McCain who said that when he looks into Vladimir Putin's eyes he sees KGB.

Putin and his advisers have tried to badmouth the protest movement in Russia by branding them stooges of the United States. Putin exploited Michael McFaul's meeting with Russian dissidents as proof of the argument.

Vladimir Putin has ramped up anti-Americanism in the expectation that it will help him win "Middle Russia" in the elections.

The one important nuance is that the Russians direct their anger at McFaul and his superior, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The criticism generally avoids mentioning Obama. The Russians have little reason to be conciliatory towards the Clinton family, because it was Bill Clinton who expanded NATO to include countries in the former Soviet space, both in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union proper.

Some expect that once Putin has secured the presidency, he will dial down his attacks on the United States.This assumes that both the United States and Russia are still in control of the process and can arrest the downward spiral in their relationship at will.

Echoes of the Cold War could be detected this week. American UN Ambassador Susan Rice called the Russian behavior at the UN "disgusting" Secretary Clinton, visiting Bulgaria, called it a "travesty" while the New York Post published an article "The Bear Is Back".

The Russians gave as good as they got, accusing the United States again of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, including the internal affairs of Russia.

What would the Americans have thought if the British ambassador to Washington had invited the activists of occupy Wall Street to his diplomatic residence? they claimed.

Who were the Americans to complain about voting fraud and irregularities when everybody still remembered the 2000 elections between Gore and Bush - or could go back to the Kennedy Nixon contest in 1960 that also involved electoral fraud.

The current US election campaign offered a performance, but the millions of dollars spent on negative advertising (something that the Kremlin gets for free on Russian television) hardly recommended the American model.

Putin did not have to stoke up anti-Americanism. when the Russian citizens waxed indignant about the American bombing campaign against Yugoslavia (again courtesy of the Clintons) the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq and most recently the pictures of American Marines urinating on Taliban corpses.

This will get worse before it gets better and by the time it gets better the damage may prove long lasting.