Archive for the ‘Lavrov’ Category

White House, State Dept Overuse of Political Advisors, Ignoring Experts is “Crazy, Dangerous”

March 24, 2009

Both Barack Obama and his inner staff of advisors and Hillary Clinton and hers, have already exhibited a tendency to rely heavily on political advisors instead of seasoned policy professionals and staff specialized in various nuances of national and international work.

President Obama’s repeated “talking down the economy,” including stressing the word ‘crisis’ and claiming that without the stimulus the nation faced ‘catastrophe,’ drew criticism from no less than Warren Buffett.

Then he switched course and urged confidence; but then he fueled the AIG lynching by expressing “outrage” which morphed into a disastrous House effort to levy a 90% tax on the AIG bonus recipients.

Senator Judd Gregg deadpanned today, “Americans started a revolution because a far off king abused his tax authority….”

Obama’s gift to Gordon Brown of the UK, a box of CD movies including “Star Wars,” was considered an insult by many in Britain.  When the PM tried to actually watch one of the flicks, his DVD player announced “Wrong Geographic Area.”

The White House didn’t even know or care that DVDs in Europe don’t use the same format as U.S. machines….

Hillary’s “Reset” button is another example.  Her political guys translated the word and got it wrong while real language and other experts at State were not consulted.  Why?

We question the entire “reset” line of thought.  Are we resetting to the Soviet era?

So beware the leaders so focused on politics and TV and without knowledge of the finer arts that experts bring….

A friend of ours in the State Department said, “Ignoring all our experts is crazy.  It’s dangerous.  It’s crazy-dangerous.”

Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever….This is why we have experts in our government….

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

*****************

From Politico

Hillary Clinton’s departure for the State Department was meant to end the era of Clinton drama, and to leave the turmoil of her campaign behind. But one former Clinton aide, now a senior adviser to Secretary Clinton, has brought at least some of that drama along with him.

State Department reporters and observers have been buzzing about the brewing conflict since her second foreign trip, earlier this month, to Europe and the Middle East. On that trip, her longtime Senate press secretary Philippe Reines – one of the combatants in Hillaryland’s long civil wars – took over as the political staffer charged with handling the press.

The trip was marked by tussles over information and access, but it became known for a high-profile blunder in Geneva on March 6. There, Clinton met Sergei Lavrov, the dour Russian Foreign Minister, and cheerily presented him with a large red button in a yellow case, with the words “Reset” and “Peregruzka” written on it.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” said Lavrov.

The error appalled some in the State Department, because the button – which was inscribed in Latin script, not Cyrillic – hadn’t been assembled with the help of State’s cadre of Russian speakers and professional translators, but rather by Clinton’s small political team. The day of the event, people involved said, Reines showed the finished product to officials who spoke Russian, but who weren’t native, or up-to-date enough to catch the error in a word out of computer terminology.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/st
ories/0309/20404.html

Related:
 Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

 Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

 Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
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Obama And The Fine Art of Political Nuances
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Fine Art Of Protocol, International Relations Lost On Obama?

Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama 

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

March 9, 2009

North Korea could launch a long range missile at any time, and according to Jae-Soon Chang of the Associated Press, “Analysts say the regime is trying to grab President Barack Obama‘s attention as his administration formulates its North Korea policy.”

Iran tested a new missile this last weekend.

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, who told the cabinet on Sunday that Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and that its attainment of  nuclear military capability was now a matter of “incorporating the goal of producing an atomic bomb to its strategy.”

More U.S. troops are headed to Afghanistan which Evan Thomas of Newsweek has already dubbed “Obama’s War.”

CNN on North Korea:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/08/nkorea.launch/index.html

Jerusalem Post on Iran’s nuclear effort See:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid
=1236269373103&pagename=JPost%2FJP
Article%2FShowFull

And the Independent Newspaper in Britain warns that “This year both American and British officials have become increasingly open about their fear that Pakistan – which has nuclear weapons under the control of a military at least to some extent open to extremist influence – is a greater danger than Afghanistan.”

And all of this includes Russia.  Despite Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov playing nice last weekend, and an apparent plea from Mr. Obama for Russian help with the Iran problem, it is by no means certain that Russia will be helpful.

Russia cut off heating oil to Europe this winter over a dispute with Ukraine and Vladimir Putin threatened another cut-off just last week.  Just last summer saw Russian tanks and troops in South Ossetia and Georgia — just as Georgia was making noise about joining NATO.

Since President Obama’s inauguration, Russia has been testing Mr. Obama and his administration rigorously and continuously.

“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Time is runing out on Obama’s “Honeymoon,” and the economy is no longer the only entre on the plate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapal, Virginia

Related:
North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Pakistan: The Greatest Threat
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl
d/asia/pakistan-the-greatest-threat-16397
79.html

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Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
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Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
.
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance
Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

homewhiteningcare.org/

Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display ... 
Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display in Tehran. The Fars news agency says Iran has “successfully” tested a new air-to-sea missile with a range of 110 kilometres (68 miles).(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

March 7, 2009

International relations is the arena of understanding different peoples and cultures and one might expect that Barack Obama, with his wide ranging international background, along with America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with her vast international experience, might understand international nuance.

Yet on Hillary’s first outing with one of America’s most difficult adversaries, she delivered a gift bearing an incorrect translation: an insult because it represents a lack of proper care in even properly translating one word.

What do we pay that big crowd at the State Department for, anyway?  Too expensive and porky, if they can’t get one word properly translated.  But I’m picky.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented her counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with a big red button marked “peregruzka” she thought this meant “reset.”

The symbolic resetting of Russian and U.S. relations did not go perfectly.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.” Both diplomats laughed. “It should be “perezagruzka” (the Russian word for reset,) Lavrov said. “This says ‘peregruzka,’ which means ‘overcharged.'”

We disagree with CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty who said  the U.S. and Russian relationship had to be reset “after relations ‘crashed’ when Russia invaded Georgia last August.”

In fact, the Bush Administration and most of Europe suspended relations with Russia in hopes of punishing or at least getting the attention of the oil rich giant after Russia’s incursion into Georgia.  But then a winter gas dispute with the Ukraine moved Russia to cut off gas to Europe — teaching the West a memorable lesson: oil and gas are power.

Relations with the U.S., Europe and NATO have suddenly gotten rosier for Moscow and the gas to Europe is flowing again.  That’s power, not diplomacy talking.

Clinton said the two sides will re-negotiate a follow-up to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and nonproliferation. On other issues like Afghanistan, the Middle East and Iran, Clinton said, “We will work through them.”

On issues where there is disagreement, Clinton said, “We are keeping those on the list because, we think through closer cooperation and building trust in each other, we can even tackle some of those differences.”

The tricky “hot button” between the U.S. and Russia right now is Iran.  Russia has been assisting Iran with nuclear development and air defense weapons.  The Obama Administration wants Russia to persuade Iran from moving closer to a nuclear weapon program.  Israel plays in this discussion.  A right wing government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is being formed in Israel and Netanyahu has made noise about attacking Iran in the past.

So, to keep world peace, the Obama Administration may be willing to give up its missile defense effort in the Czech Republic and Poland in order to gain Russian help with Iran.

Related:
CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/W
ORLD/europe/03/07/us.russia
/index.html

Related:
Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
.
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia Haggle

Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
.
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Putin Medvedev
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Above: Russia’s “power couple.” Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

http://defencedebates.wordpress.com/2009/03
/07/russia-pushes-for-new-strategic-arms-pact-with-us/

Russian media teases Clinton:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG
.9ca28ad2530b0d0029e1304762eca18f.8c1&s
how_article=1

http://doubleplusundead.mee.nu/

America’s Top Diplomat Tongue-Tied?
http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyE
noughNews/idUSTRE5254WO20090306

http://www.rightwingnews.com/#post14701

Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

March 6, 2009

For everyone working on their rsume to improve their hopes of getting a new job, take heart in the story of Hillary Clinton.

Sixteen years ago, Mrs. Clinton was made in charge of reforming health care by her husband, President Bill.

Her closed door meetings riled the opposition and her health care efforts went down in flames.

Now Hillary is reborn as America’s Secretary of State and diplomat in chief and Barack Obama has learned from Bill’s health care fiasco.  Barack is using the all inclusive hug everyone and keep the door open appraoch to health care reform.

Just to make sure health care makes it though the Congress, Barack is using the game plan so successful with the stimulus: Nanacy pelosi and her gamd will write the provisions of the new health care reform measure.

Meanwhile, the only person not under the health care tent, it seems, is Hillary Clinton.

She is in Russia dealing with what many consider a far tougher problem than health care: Russia.

Just aafter President Obama apparently promised Russia it would unilaterally disarm its missile defense efforts in Europe, in exchange for some mysterious Russian assistance to stop Iran’s nuclear program; Hillary arrived in Russia.

Hillary opened her meeting with a gift for her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The gift was supposed to reporest a “resetting” of U.S. and Russian ties.  The gift was a big red button with the word peregruzka printed on top. 

Hillary and her crack State Department team thought peregruzka meant “reset.”

Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.” 

Go get ’em Hillary!  And kudos to the U.S. Department of State!

********************

By David Cloud
Politico

GENEVA—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top. 

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked. 

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said. 

Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.” 

Clinton and Lavrov laughed. 

“We won’t let you do that to us,” she said. Trying to recover, Clinton said the new administration was serious about improving relations with Moscow. “We mean it, and we’re looking forward to it.” 

Lavrov said he would put the button on his desk and he and Clinton pushed the button together, before sitting down for their meeting.

A State Department official said the misspelling on the button was being corrected, in time for the post-meeting news conference.

Related:
 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)
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In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers

A lot of people get paid a lot of money to prevent the kind of gaffe just made by Hillary Clinton.  Usually they work in an office called “protocol.”

Protocol and dacorum are the opposite of awkward and foolish rolled into disrespectful and inappropriate.
There have been awkward moments before at the White House and in presidential administrations and sometimes they cause pain and embarrassment to visiting dignitaries.  Sometimes they detract from years of great diplomacy.

Just ask Hu Jintao, President of China, after he was introduced at the White House during a Bush hosted ceremony as the President of the “Republic of China,” which most of us know as Taiwan.  President Bush added to the lack of protocol and decorum that day by manhandling President Hu toward the exit to the stage, a “touching” just not allowed  — except maybe for children.

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, is helped ... 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, is helped down the stairs by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after a joint press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, March 6, 2009. Clinton said Friday she hopes her first discussion with her Russian counterpart will begin a new era in U.S.-Russian relations without raising doubts about American support for European allies.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Clinton faces first diplomatic test with Russian

March 6, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s first discussions with her Russian counterpart will test her diplomatic skills as well as the Obama administration’s hopes for a new direction in U.S. foreign policy.

Clinton’s planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday in Geneva is aimed at advancing an Obama administration effort to put U.S.-Russian relations on a more positive track by presenting Moscow with a package of proposals including accelerated arms control talks and an appeal for help in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

The full scope of the U.S. approach to Russia has not been worked out, but the Geneva session is a chance to set the stage for improved relations on numerous fronts after years of friction and only modest diplomatic progress during the Bush administration.

By ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press Writer

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009030
6/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/eu_clinton_russia

Related:
 Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia Haggle

Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Russia says it is ready for more arms cuts

February 7, 2009

Russia is ready for more nuclear weapons cuts and welcomes President Barack Obama‘s push for talks on an arms reduction treaty, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in remarks broadcast Saturday.

Russia is believed to have fewer warheads than the U.S. and has indicated it wants a binding deal on further reductions, but Lavrov’s remarks were the clearest statement in the issue since Obama took office last month.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, has called on the Obama administration to abandon policies set by his predecessor George W. Bush, including plans for a missile shield based in former Soviet satellite states and the expansion of NATO into Georgia and Ukraine. Lavrov said Russia had long pressed the Bush administration in vain for a clear response to proposals for replacing the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, when it expires in December.

By STEVE GUTTERMAN, Associated Press Writer

On Thursday, a spokesman for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a replacement treaty for START would be put on a fast track, and that the Obama administration was committed to cuts but had not decided how deep.

“We are ready to go further on the path of reductions and limitations,” Lavrov said, adding only the caveat that Russia’s overarching goal is to ensure its security.

START limited the United States and Russia to 6,000 nuclear warheads each. In 2002, Bush and Vladimir Putin, then president of Russia, agreed on a treaty that set a target of 1,700 to 2,000 deployed strategic warheads on each side by 2012.

Lavrov made no mention of specific numbers in the brief remarks. Asked about media reports claiming a reduction of up to 80 percent could be in the works, he said he had not heard them and that nothing had been confirmed officially.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090207/ap_o
n_re_eu/eu_russia_us_nuclear_arms_2

Russia “Herding Squirrels” Iran, Syria, Hamas Toward Cease Fire

January 16, 2009

Russia is in the enviable position tonight of trying to convince some of the most recalcitant governments on the face of the earth to accept defeat at the hands of Israel and attend a cease fire meeting.

A senior Russian diplomat called the task “Herding squirrels.”

The task has fallen to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to AFP.

“We are sending the appropriate signals to Hamas representatives and to those states that have influence on Hamas, meaning above all Iran and Syria,” of the need to accept the Egyptian plan, Lavrov said at a news conference.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel so often that it is almost impossible to envision him telling Hamas to play like nice children and attend the cease fire summit.

Mr. Ahmadinejad won’t even say the word “Israel,” preferring the terminology of denial.  He says “Zionist State.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Earlier Friday, Hamas’ Syrian-based political chief Khaled Mashaal rejected Israeli conditions for a truce and demanded an immediate opening of the besieged territory’s borders.

Mashaal  called on all Arab countries to cut ties with the Jewish state during a summit of Arab leaders in Doha, Qatar.
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar Assad gave Mashaal their full backing, but significantly, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia boycotted the summit.

Leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal.
Leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal.

So, faced with this lovely scenario, Mr. Lavrov is urging all key players to sit nicely and enjoy a cease fire summit.

That is whay Israel has already said it is fully prepared for a “Unilateral Cease Fire.”

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Related:
Iran’s President Accuses Israel of “Massacre,” Condemns US, UN, Britain
.
 Russia urges Iran, Syria to pressure Hamas on ceasefire

Russia urges Iran, Syria to pressure Hamas on ceasefire

January 16, 2009

Russia has called on Iran and Syria to persuade Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to accept a plan pushed by Egypt to end the fighting in Gaza, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Iran and ... 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on Iran and Syria to persuade Hamas to accept a plan pushed by Egypt to end the fighting in Gaza.(AFP/Alexander Nemenov)

“We are sending the appropriate signals to Hamas representatives and to those states that have influence on Hamas, meaning above all Iran and Syria,” of the need to accept the Egyptian plan, Lavrov said at a news conference.

The Russian minister said the Egyptian initiative, launched by President Hosni Mubarak on January 6, was the “optimal” way to put an end to the war in Gaza that has killed more than 1,100 people in the past three weeks.

“We believe all forces need to throw their support behind it,” Lavrov said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit has said the Mubarak plan calls for an “immediate ceasefire and acceptance of withdrawal” of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas official said Wednesday that the Islamist movement had accepted “broad outlines” of the Egyptian plan without approving it outright.

Russia is a member of the Mideast quartet but is the only one formally to be on speaking terms with Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the EU.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090116/wl_mide
ast_afp/mideastconflictgazarussia_20090116143225

Russians Say Medvedev, Obama to Meet “Soon After Jan 20 Inauguration”

December 18, 2008

The Russian news agency Novosti says that Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will meet shortly after the new American president is inaugurated in January, 2009.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said,  according to the Russian News Agency, that President-elect Obama had agreed in a telephone conversation with Mr. Medvedev on November 8 to “arrange a top-level meeting soon after President Obama’s inauguration.” 

Russia President Dmitry Medvedev returns after inspecting a ... 
Russia President Dmitry Medvedev
Photo: AP

Lavrov made the comment after a meeting in Moscow with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar on Thursday.

A U.S. State Department source told Peace and Freedom this is additional pressure on Mr. Obama from the Russian government.

Earlier this week, John Rood, the State Department’s top arms control official, said the Russian government is likely to “test the mettle” of Barack Obama and his administration by taking a tougher stance against U.S. missile defenses.

Within hours of Barack Obama’s election, Medvedev said he would deploy Iskander nuclear-armed missiles to eastern Europe unless the U.S. backed off its deal on missile defense for Poland and the Czech Republic.  Medvedev later backed off that claim.

Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

Related:
Russia Will Test Obama on Arms Control, Missile Defense — Diplomat

China is also trying to be at the top of the Obama agenda:
 Obama, U.S. Need Not Kowtow To China

********************

MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with U.S. president-elect Barack Obama shortly after the latter is inaugurated in Washington on January 20, the Russian foreign minister said on Thursday.

Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting in Moscow with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar on Thursday that Medvedev and Obama had agreed in a telephone conversation on November 8 to “arrange a top-level meeting soon after President Obama’s inauguration.”

He also added that Moscow was ready to discuss issues on which the two sides had differences in a frank and open manner.

“Russia is prepared for that and we hope that the new administration in Washington will also be ready to discuss any issue on the basis of mutual respect,” Lavrov said.

Russia-U.S. relations have been frayed by Washington’s plans to deploy elements of a missile shield to Central Europe, Russia’s five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August, and NATO’s eastward expansion.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently said he expected Russia’s relations with the United States to improve after Obama takes office in January. His words were echoed by Medvedev.

Obama said earlier this month that he wanted to “reset” relations between Washington and an “increasingly assertive” Moscow. “They’re increasingly assertive. And when it comes to Georgia and their threats against their neighboring countries, I think they have been acting in a way that is contrary to international norms,” Obama told NBC’s Meet the Press.

“We want to cooperate with them where we can, and there are a whole host of areas particularly around nonproliferation of weapons and terrorism where we can cooperate, but we also have to send a clear message that they have to act in ways that are not bullying their neighbors,” Obama went on.

 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,469404,00.html

Testing O's spine in Europe.
Mr. Medvedev.  Photo by AP