US-Russia Relations Beyond Helsinki

For the U.S., Ukraine is important. For Russia, Ukraine is everything.

Jacob L. Shapiro |July 24, 2018

In 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Slovenia. After the summit, Bush said he had “looked the man in the eye” and gotten a “sense of his soul.” By the end of Bush’s presidency, Russia had invaded Georgia, and the U.S. was installing missile defense batteries in Poland. In 2009, early in President Barack Obama’s first term, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a reset button to usher in a new era of U.S.-Russia relations. By the end of Obama’s presidency, Russia had invaded Crimea and was propping up Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Putin in Helsinki in an attempt to improve relations that the Russian president said were “worse than during the Cold War.” The question no one is asking is: What will U.S.-Russia relations look like by the end of the Trump administration?

A Claustrophobic Russia

For over 100 years, the

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