To read Sarah Mendelson's entire report, Wanted: A New U.S. Policy on Russia, click here.
Recent Russian parliamentary elections did much to expose the myth of “managed democracy” in that country. U.S. policymakers, however, had numerous (and bloody) reasons to be worried about Russia’s political course long before election season or before that other shock that has received so much attention—the arrest of Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. If U.S. policymakers have been concerned by the course of events in Russia, it has been very hard to tell. Generally, President George W. Bush has counted Russia as a good partner to the United States and applauded President Vladimir Putin’s “vision” of democracy in Russia even as Putin presided over numerous and well documented assaults on reforms.
This approach is simply no longer viable nor in U.S. interests. Now is the time to take a hard look at the Putin path and consider a new and different policy toward Russia; one that does not give a pass to undemocratic behavior in the name of fighting terrorism. This memo explains why current U.S. policy has not worked and how to fix it. More…