Thursday, February 4, 2016

EU Says Crimea Return Necessary for Lifting Russia Sanctions | News | The Moscow Times | Reviving American Power After Obama | Rising U.S. layoffs point to ebbing labor market momentum | Reuters | Syria: ′Russia not interested in a political solution′ | World | DW.COM | 04.02.2016 | A whiff of panic in the Kremlin as economy sinks further | Russia’s hybrid interference in Germany’s refugee policy | European Council on Foreign Relations | DNA Study of First Ancient African Genome Flawed, Researchers Report - NYTimes.com | ВЗГЛЯД: Назначение генерала Коробова многое говорит о приоритетах в деятельности ГРУ



The European parliament has named the return of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, to Ukraine as one of the necessary conditions for lifting sanctions against the country, according to a resolution published on the parliament's website.
“The restoration of Ukrainian control over the peninsula is one of the prerequisites for re-establishing cooperative relations with the Russian Federation, including the suspension of related sanctions,” the resolution passed by the EU parliament on Thursday said.
Previously, EU leaders said that the lifting of sanctions depended only on the complete fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, aimed at eliminating conflict in eastern Ukraine, the RBC news website reported.
EU deputies condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and will continue the policy of non-recognition of Russia's occupation [of Crimea], the resolution stated.
The document also said that an “unprecedented level” of human rights violations had been perpetrated against Crimean residents, especially against Crimean Tatars.
The resolution was supported by 472 EU deputies, while 79 deputies voted against it, according to RBC.

The world is a far more dangerous place today than when Obama took office. Global terrorism is rising dramatically. The Middle East is a cauldron of war and instability. Instead of “ending,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan persist—and in the case of Iraq, under far worse conditions than Obama inherited in 2009. We face a terrorist threat arguably as bad, if not worse, than Al Qaeda was at its height: ISIS is more vicious, controls territory and even has a government, which, as far as safe havens for terrorists go, poses a more dangerous threat than in 2008. Russia and China are more powerful and threatening than they were in 2008. Our friends and allies are confused and afraid. And our enemies are significantly emboldened.
Назначение начальника ГРУ (как, впрочем, и СВР) всегда событие знаковое... 
В современном ГРУ стратегическая разведка структурно разбита между территориальными управлениями и специальным Управлением стратегических доктрин и вооружений. Учитывая специфику ГРУ, при обработке стратегических данных больше внимания там уделяется именно военным аспектам, а не политике. Но в современном мире значительно выросла роль теоретических построений, в первую очередь, при стратегическом военном планировании. Армии теперь развиваются не линейно, просто увеличиваясь количественно и совершенствуя свое вооружение, а согласно теоретически выстроенным стратегиям. В результате неожиданное развитие могут получить такие виды вооружений, которым ранее не придавалось особого значения. Другой пример – возникновение военно-политического кризиса в ранее стабильном регионе. Для оценки такого рода угроз и требуется новый подход к сбору, а главное – к обработке и оценке оперативных данных, претендующих на «стратегичность». Отсутствием такого рода системы стратегического анализа страдал КГБ позднесоветского периода, и даже специально созданное там управление с генералом Леоновым ситуации не изменило, а только усугубило проблему, поскольку Леонов и компания чересчур увлеклись конспирологией.
Сейчас потребность в стратегической оценке информации велика как никогда в истории РФ. Выбор генерала Коробова на должность начальника ГРУ мог быть предопределен именно таким раскладом и сопутствующими расчетами в руководстве страны и армии. А это, в свою очередь, формирует новый вектор развития военной разведки, в том числе в плане внутренних реформ и подбора кадров. 
The current UN sponsored peace talks have been delayed until February 25 th largely because Russia has been lying about why it is really in Syria and that lie is both obvious and a major factor in preventing the peace talks from starting. The problem is that Russia is concentrating most of its considerable firepower on rebel groups that are hurting the Syrian Assad government forces the most. By American count only about ten percent of Russian air strikes have been against ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) and those targets were usually hit to protect Assad forces.

Bassma Kodmani (a member of the Syrian opposition's negotiating team): 

"In the last two months, Moscow was saying that they were looking for a ceasefire and a political process. We don't agree with Russia on the nature of the political process, but we were clear that there must be a political process coupled with a ceasefire, then we would come to the negotiating table. So, it would have been possible to start negotiating, but instead, we saw the air raids. So now, we see that the words we heard from Russia are in total contradiction to its behavior on the ground!"

It is not hard to see why Putin endorsed Trump before the voting started. Although Putin's sense of U.S. politics is somewhat uninformed, this time around he knew exactly what he was doing — trolling the U.S. political establishment. Trump's campaign message has been that American elites are morons and losers and that a strong leader like him is needed to clinch advantageous deals for the United States — particularly when negotiating with strong leaders like Vladimir Putin. A Trump presidency would shatter the U.S. political system and leave the country distracted and weak — hence Trump's appeal to the Kremlin.
Trump's boast that he had met Putin once in New York and felt that he could build a strong and close relationship with Russia — cited by Putin as sufficient reason for endorsing him — was not based on anything in particular. Trump has neither a foreign policy platform nor foreign policy advisors, and his understanding of Russia is primitive. But his unmistakably Berlusconi style of leadership, his age and his aura of unrestrained masculinity is something that Putin finds appealing in other foreign leaders — George W. Bush, for example. Putin is known for his highly personalized foreign policy style, which sometimes hurts state relations, as U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have learned. 


EU Says Crimea Return Necessary for Lifting Russia Sanctions | News

EU Says Crimea Return Necessary for Lifting Russia Sanctions | News

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The European parliament has named the return of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, to Ukraine as one of the necessary conditions for lifting sanctions against the country, according to a resolution published on the parliament's website.
“The restoration of Ukrainian control over the peninsula is one of the prerequisites for re-establishing cooperative relations with the Russian Federation, including the suspension of related sanctions,” the resolution passed by the EU parliament on Thursday said.
Previously, EU leaders said that the lifting of sanctions depended only on the complete fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, aimed at eliminating conflict in eastern Ukraine, the RBC news website reported.
EU deputies condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and will continue the policy of non-recognition of Russia's occupation [of Crimea], the resolution stated.
The document also said that an “unprecedented level” of human rights violations had been perpetrated against Crimean residents, especially against Crimean Tatars.
The resolution was supported by 472 EU deputies, while 79 deputies voted against it, according to RBC.

Reviving American Power After Obama

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For the last seven years we have witnessed an unprecedented experiment based on a fundamental question: What would the world look like if the United States pulled back from its traditional leadership role? That was after all, the key thrust of President Barack Obama’s new foreign policy. He promised to embark on a radically new way of dealing with the world—one where we would “engage” our enemies rather than confront them.
The verdict is in.
The world is a far more dangerous place today than when Obama took office. Global terrorism is rising dramatically. The Middle East is a cauldron of war and instability. Instead of “ending,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan persist—and in the case of Iraq, under far worse conditions than Obama inherited in 2009. We face a terrorist threat arguably as bad, if not worse, than Al Qaeda was at its height: ISIS is more vicious, controls territory and even has a government, which, as far as safe havens for terrorists go, poses a more dangerous threat than in 2008. Russia and China are more powerful and threatening than they were in 2008. Our friends and allies are confused and afraid. And our enemies are significantly emboldened.
The new order Obama wants to establish is, unfortunately, one in which the United States cannot possibly win. It is hopelessly stacked against us: an asymmetrical strategic environment in which our adversaries can make huge gains at our expense—and at relatively low cost to themselves. Examples include not only the Iranian nuclear deal, where Tehran reaps a huge financial windfall but is left free—in ten or fifteen years (if not earlier)—to pursue nuclear weapons. They also include as Exhibit A Obama’s Russia “reset” policy, which paved the way for the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine with Russian surrogate forces.
Obama’s foreign policy has been a historic failure. But frankly, recognizing this fact does not automatically tell us how to correct it. We can’t just go back and recreate the world as it was before Obama sought to transform it. Too much water has passed under the bridge, and it will be much more difficult to get America back on track than many realize. We are in a very deep hole, and it will require brutal honesty to dig our way out of it.
We must do nothing less than completely overhaul Obama’s way of approaching the world. Every flawed assumption must be challenged. He claims adversaries will be more cooperative if we “engage” them. We must insist the opposite is true—that they stand down or back away only when they are confronted. He argues that our costs (both in terms of money and influence) go down when we appease our enemies. We must counter with the opposite; that they go up astronomically, as witnessed not only by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine but even by Iran’s bellicosity in the wake of the nuclear deal. He contends we will be more respected if we display a more open hand toward our adversaries. Polls of world opinion, not to mention the disrespect many world leaders (like Vladimir Putin) show toward Obama personally, prove otherwise. He promises a cheap and easy peace if we simply pull back and let others take the lead. We must show that the opposite is true—that peace is hard and expensive to achieve, and others, including our allies, follow only when we lead them.
The world Obama has left us is filled with new forces intent not only on threatening our security but disrupting the international order we helped create. Russia, Iran, ISIS and even China are trying to replace the old order with a new instability—perhaps even chaos—in which they win and we lose. For them, it truly is a zero-sum game. Yes, Russia and China partially benefit from the order they deride (especially China economically); but they do so mainly on their own terms, not ours or even those of the rest of the international community.
It’s in that dynamic that the asymmetry resides. It’s asymmetric because our adversaries and rivals pick and choose their fights at pressure points convenient to them, while we pretend that any attempt on our part to counter them only leads to more disorder. This is utterly false; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. Our refusal to stand up to adversaries signals a lack of commitment to that order, and to the security of our allies and friends who depend on us. Obama’s famous caution is not perceived by much of the world as a cool weighing of options (as his defenders imagine), but as indecision and even indifference. When he saves all his vigor and passion for issues like climate change, and neglects our defenses and makes deals with adversaries like Iran, he’s broadcasting his priorities loud and clear: America is getting out of the superpower business, and it’s time for the world to get used to our shrinking strategic presence.
There is only one way to reverse this dynamic: disrupt the disrupters—that is, those who wish to disrupt America’s leadership in the world. We should be thinking of ways to invert the cost ratios that now favor revisionist powers and forces like Russia, China, Iran and ISIS over us. In other words, we need to raise their costs for opposing us, while reducing the costs we incur from not opposing them. It may cost us more in the short run to challenge them, but in the long run we save because deterrence works better than appeasement. If we don’t do this, the price of peace will only go up. We will face a cascade of escalating challenges unleashed by the perception that we are an easy mark, and that it pays to challenge the United States of America.
It is true that we can never be as cynical as Russia or China in manipulating conflicts. Our values and international commitments will force us into the frustrating position of not being able always to meet them tit-for-tat. But there is no reason why we can’t make it more costly for them when they blatantly threaten us or our allies. That was the way Ronald Reagan confronted the Soviet Union, and it worked quite well.
We need to do more of some things but less of others. We must focus on what really counts, and stop chasing windmills like pretending climate change is the world’s biggest threat. We need to stand up a viable and friendly Syrian force to combat both ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, not waste our time on fruitless diplomatic initiatives at the United Nations that serve no purpose other than to offer cover for Russia’s backing of Assad. We need to spend a lot more money on national defense and stop pretending as if advanced technology or mere “smart” diplomacy can make up for military weakness.
Above all, we must choose confrontation (mostly diplomatic, but in the case of ISIS, military) wisely but deliberately. We must be very careful about picking our fights—but when we do, we must win them. In choosing confrontation, we should think not only about the specific tactical problems involved, but whether they serve some larger strategic purpose. Think of them as inflection points that can bend a strategic curve in our favor. We must always keep the overall curve in mind, and how all the points fit together.
There are four such inflection points. First and foremost is the destruction of ISIS’s capability to make war, inflict terror and control territory. That is what defeating ISIS means. Its total defeat is necessary, not only to protect the homeland from terrorist attacks but to reverse the trajectory toward more war and chaos in the Middle East. This goal can be achieved only by interjecting a substantial increase of U.S. combat forces into the fight against ISIS.
Second is to arrange for the defeat of Putin’s adventure in Ukraine. So much is riding on whether he succeeds or not. If he pulls it off, he will likely move onto other low-hanging fruit, possibly in the Baltics. But if he fails, it will prove his gambit to change the international order in Europe has miscarried and show the Russian people that adventurism doesn’t pay. Under those circumstances, Putin could end up facing the same misfortune as Soviet leaders did after the failure of the Afghanistan invasion in 1979.
How to do this? By dramatically increasing lethal assistance to Ukraine. A year ago, such a move looked risky because Putin was on a roll and in a strong position at home. Now he faces not only a potential quagmire in Ukraine, but increasing criticism for poorly handling the economic crisis. Politically, Putin is weaker, which means he no longer enjoys the easy escalation dominance he once did.
Third, we must reverse Obama’s strategic tilting in favor of Iran. It is upending a region already roiled by bitter sectarian and state power rivalries. If not reversed, it will lead to more war and bloodshed and possibly a nuclear arms race. This will require the next president to reverse the Iran nuclear deal as soon as possible. America’s allies, who salivate over renewed commercial ties with Iran, will have to be told they must choose between Iran and the United States. If given no other choice, they will choose us.
Fourth, we need to make clear to Beijing that China’s territorial expansionism will not be accepted as part of rules for a “new type of major power relations,” which is Chinese code for accepting a more dominant role for China in East Asia. This will entail a more forceful policy against China and substantial new naval deployments in East Asia—much more than those that accompanied Obama’s paltry “rebalancing” or “pivot” to Asia. It will also necessitate stronger support for friends and allies in the region in resisting China’s maritime territorial claims.
Some conflicts are simply intractable. That’s true not only for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also for the ongoing nuclear drama with North Korea. These and other conflicts cannot be ignored, and they do need to be managed. But we should not expect that any new U.S. diplomatic initiative would make any significant difference. In fact, trying to do so could backfire, giving the Palestinians and the North Koreans new openings to exploit the differences of opinion we have with our friends and allies. Nevertheless, we should be moving briskly to build a missile defense system to deal with the North Korean threat. In addition, we should not rule out military preemption as an option if the North Koreans posture their nuclear weapons in a threatening manner.
Taking these actions could dramatically alter the diplomatic terrain left by Barack Obama. They would show a new style of U.S. leadership. They would reveal a new strategic focus on the most important issues facing us and our friends. They would show our friends that we are reliable and our foes that we should not be crossed.
Most importantly, they would demonstrate that the Obama experiment tried is over, and that the United States is back in the superpower business. The trajectory of American decline that once looked inevitable will have been reversed. America’s traditional leadership role, so derided and neglected by Obama, will be back. Only then can we begin the long and arduous process of restoring some sense of order and stability to a world unsettled by some of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in U.S. history.
-Kim R. Holmes, a former Assistant Secretary of State, is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. His latest book, “The Closing of the Liberal Mind” (Encounter Books), will be published in April.

About the Author

Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D. Distinguished Fellow
Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy
This piece originally appeared in The National Interest
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ВЗГЛЯД / Назначение генерала Коробова многое говорит о приоритетах в деятельности ГРУ

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Тот факт, что между смертью Игоря Сергуна и назначением на должность начальника ГРУ Игоря Коробова прошел почти месяц, говорит о том, что руководству страны пришлось определяться с приоритетами. Возможные сменщики Сергуна имеют свои сильные стороны. Выбор же в пользу генерала Коробова наглядно иллюстрирует ту роль, которую отводят ГРУ в области обеспечения национальной безопасности.
Назначение начальника ГРУ (как, впрочем, и СВР) всегда событие знаковое. Но оно мало связано с сугубо политическими обстоятельствами и «борьбой кланов», которую принялись искать сразу же после скоропостижной смерти генерала Игоря Сергуна. Разведка – и военная, и «гражданская» – работа техническая, рутинная, приоритеты в ней никак не связаны с внутренней политикой или сменой правительств. Тут важны преемственность и профессионализм, что не отменяет, конечно, и необходимости периодических дозированных реформ.
Более всего в разведках опасаются именно «политических» решений – неожиданного назначения на руководящие должности людей, мало знакомых со спецификой работы. Опыт и история подсказывают, что подобные шаги в сложные исторические периоды приводили в лучшем случае к курьезам, а в худшем – к провалам. Классический пример – ситуация вокруг ГРУ в период перестройки и сразу после распада СССР. Оба достойных армейских генерала, возглавлявших ГРУ в «горбачевский период» (после отставки в 1987 году живой легенды Петра Ивашутина), к разведке не имели никакого отношения. Один из них запомнился «маскарадом»: он искренне считал, что офицеры Генерального штаба должны ходить на работу в форме и издал соответствующий приказ. В результате сотрудники центрального аппарата приезжали в старое здание ГРУ на Хорошевском шоссе в форме, а у себя в кабинетах уже переодевались в костюмы. Смешно? Пожалуй. Но надо понимать, что любой мог разместиться напротив проходной и переписывать звания входящих и род войск. В том числе и поэтому даже ангажированные слухи о приходе в ГРУ «варяга» (неважно, откуда – из ФСО или от «конкурентов») воспринимаются столь болезненно.
Сохранение преемственности в разведке – не корпоративная блажь и не стремление отгородиться от «чужаков». В конце концов, в ГРУ не берут «со студенческой скамьи», как в советское время в КГБ, там работают выходцы из самых разных родов войск, если говорить именно о разведке и центральном аппарате. Военно-дипломатическая академия хотя и профильное учебное заведение, но туда попадают уже с определенным общевойсковым опытом, так что ее можно считать чем-то вроде «второго образования».
Третий потенциальный кандидат на должность начальника ГРУ считался наиболее известным медийно, хотя и с оговорками. Генерал Игорь Лелин запомнился еще полковником, когда в 2000 году работал военным атташе российского посольства в Таллине. Официально аккредитованному дипломату не избежать публичности, а Лелин и его заместитель – военно-морской атташе Игорь Шитов – принимали участие в возложении венков к мемориалу советским воинам-освободителям, когда тот стоял еще на площади Тынисмяги, а не был перенесен на кладбище. После окончания загранкомандировки Игорь Лелин продолжил службу не в ГРУ, а в Управлении кадров Вооруженных сил РФ, курируя в том числе военные учебные заведения. И есть основания считать, что эстонская командировка могла быть прервана по не зависящим от Лелина обстоятельствам, а его дальнейшее участие в оперативной разведке было поставлено под сомнение в связи с «засвеченностью».
В теории это обстоятельство не мешало ему претендовать на должность начальника ГРУ. В конце концов, особо никто и не скрывал, какие именно дипломатические должности зарезервированы для сотрудников разведок (никто ж не удивляется некорректно большому количеству атташе по культуре в посольстве США в Москве). Но опыт работы в агентурно-оперативной разведке (а к ней можно отнести и деятельность резидентур во второстепенных в разведывательном плане странах типа Эстонии) страдает одним существенным изъяном. Как правило, у таких людей отсутствует опыт стратегического мышления и глобальной оценки информации. В особо критичных случаях вырабатывается своеобразная форма «привязанности» к региону, в котором долгое время работал сотрудник, в результате чего локальная информация начинает казаться чем-то сверхважным, теряется объективность в оценке, искажается общая картина, несмотря на то, что исторически в «малых резидентурах» все равно превалирует работа по «главному противнику», то есть США.
Никто не утверждает, что это в полной мере относится и к генералу Лелину. Но это известная профессиональная деформация, которых в разведке больше, чем в любой другой профессии, за исключением театра. Но именно умение оценить стратегическую информацию, структурировать общий поток и выбирать из него наиболее существенное определили нынешний выбор нового начальника ГРУ в пользу генерала Игоря Коробова. О его послужном списке известно меньше, чем об остальных, но большую часть своей карьеры он непосредственно был связан со стратегической разведкой и курировал это направление в должности первого заместителя начальника управления.
В современном ГРУ стратегическая разведка структурно разбита между территориальными управлениями и специальным Управлением стратегических доктрин и вооружений. Учитывая специфику ГРУ, при обработке стратегических данных больше внимания там уделяется именно военным аспектам, а не политике. Но в современном мире значительно выросла роль теоретических построений, в первую очередь, при стратегическом военном планировании. Армии теперь развиваются не линейно, просто увеличиваясь количественно и совершенствуя свое вооружение, а согласно теоретически выстроенным стратегиям. В результате неожиданное развитие могут получить такие виды вооружений, которым ранее не придавалось особого значения. Другой пример – возникновение военно-политического кризиса в ранее стабильном регионе. Для оценки такого рода угроз и требуется новый подход к сбору, а главное – к обработке и оценке оперативных данных, претендующих на «стратегичность». Отсутствием такого рода системы стратегического анализа страдал КГБ позднесоветского периода, и даже специально созданное там управление с генералом Леоновым ситуации не изменило, а только усугубило проблему, поскольку Леонов и компания чересчур увлеклись конспирологией.
Сейчас потребность в стратегической оценке информации велика как никогда в истории РФ. Выбор генерала Коробова на должность начальника ГРУ мог быть предопределен именно таким раскладом и сопутствующими расчетами в руководстве страны и армии. А это, в свою очередь, формирует новый вектор развития военной разведки, в том числе в плане внутренних реформ и подбора кадров. Никакой политики. Только прагматика.
Текст: Евгений Крутиков
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Russia Loses Its Trump Card | News

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Vladimir Frolov 
Republican voters in Iowa may have thwarted Russian President Vladimir Putin's wish to see the "doubtlessly talented" Donald Trump as the next U.S. president.
Trump, the "absolute leader of the presidential race" as Putin described him back in December, came in second in Iowa with 24 percent of the vote, behind Senator Ted Cruz at 28 percent. Trump failed to convert his handsome lead in the polls into actual votes thanks to poor campaign management and an incoherent message.
Although Trump still enjoys a commanding lead in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Feb. 9, and in South Carolina — Feb. 20, the loss in Iowa appears to have pierced a hole in The Donald's balloon of inevitability. His march to the Republican nomination may be about to crater, or at least prove more arduous and costly than it has thus far. Trump's train may have left the station, but it is not heading toward the White House.
Part of the reason for this is Senator Marco Rubio, whose last-minute surge in Iowa to finish a close third (23 percent), has resuscitated the Republican establishment's hopes for a strong and unifying candidate who could actually govern the country. Rubio, not Cruz, is the real winner in Iowa, and his result changes the dynamic of the race as the Republican establishment and major donors begin coalescing around his candidacy.
Cruz, a conservative zealot hated within his own party, is likely to fade after New Hampshire were Rubio to keep gaining momentum. Jeb Bush will be pressured to withdraw from the race and should be lining up for a Cabinet position now.
It is not hard to see why Putin endorsed Trump before the voting started. Although Putin's sense of U.S. politics is somewhat uninformed, this time around he knew exactly what he was doing — trolling the U.S. political establishment. Trump's campaign message has been that American elites are morons and losers and that a strong leader like him is needed to clinch advantageous deals for the United States — particularly when negotiating with strong leaders like Vladimir Putin. A Trump presidency would shatter the U.S. political system and leave the country distracted and weak — hence Trump's appeal to the Kremlin.
Trump's boast that he had met Putin once in New York and felt that he could build a strong and close relationship with Russia — cited by Putin as sufficient reason for endorsing him — was not based on anything in particular. Trump has neither a foreign policy platform nor foreign policy advisors, and his understanding of Russia is primitive. But his unmistakably Berlusconi style of leadership, his age and his aura of unrestrained masculinity is something that Putin finds appealing in other foreign leaders — George W. Bush, for example. Putin is known for his highly personalized foreign policy style, which sometimes hurts state relations, as U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have learned.
The generational and cultural divide does not augur well for a prospective Putin-Rubio relationship. Rubio has staked out a hardline position on Russia. In a speech last October he pledged to "aggressively confront Russia in Europe and the Middle East" and "contain Russia's aggression in Ukraine" by imposing more sweeping sanctions, visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials, and U.S. lethal weapons transfers to Ukraine to fight Russia-backed separatists.
He promised to "speak frankly about who Vladimir Putin is and what his regime represents," calling Putin "a gangster and a thug' with whom no U.S. president should be "pleading for meetings." And in an op-ed for Politico.eu on May 8, 2015, Rubio called for bolstering NATO defenses against Russia's "blatant attempt to overturn the post-World War II order in Europe" by permanently deploying significant U.S. forces in Eastern Europe, arming Ukraine and enlarging NATO. This hardly sounds like a template for a reset in U.S.-Russian relations.
The reset may well come from a Hillary Clinton administration, which is emerging from the wreckage of the Democratic vote in Iowa. Hillary Clinton could not afford to lose Iowa and she eked out a win by five votes. That she was virtually tied, after blowing a huge lead in less than three months, with Senator Bernie Sanders, whose socialist candidacy was once considered a joke, is unpleasant, but not lethal. Despite a likely win for Sanders in New Hampshire next Tuesday, Clinton is likely to be the Democratic nominee as she has a commanding hold on the black and Hispanic vote, which will probably carry her into the White House.
Rubio, a naturally gifted politician — often described as a Republican Obama — would be a tough challenger for Clinton, but the economy and demographics favor the Democrats and Obama's successful agenda. Barring an FBI indictment for mishandling classified information, Hillary Clinton could be the first female president of the United States.
Clinton would re-engage with Moscow and largely continue Obama's strategy, a combination of engagement and calibrated pressure. Yet, she has recently emerged as one of Putin's fiercest critics in the United States, comparing his movements in Crimea with Hitler's and urging European leaders not be "too wimpy" in dealing with Putin to push back Russia's influence in the former Soviet Union.
She described her relationship with Putin as "interesting" as they exchanged barbs, sexist comments, accusations of revolutionary incitement, and soul-searching revelations of Putin's family's suffering in World War II. Still, their world views are starkly different. Clinton would likely be unyielding in her rejection of Putin's realist claim of Russia's natural sphere of influence and his defense of Russia's "conservative values" that defy U.S. understanding of human rights and democracy.
A Clinton administration would likely be more interventionist and willing to use force than Obama's White House has been, which would not go down well in Moscow. Clinton was a leading advocate of using military force in Libya in 2011 and she recommended that Obama arm Syrian rebels in 2012. She supports establishing a no-fly zone and safe havens in Syria to protect civilians, which Putin rushed to preempt with a military intervention.
The Moscow-Washington relationship promises to remain a rocky one and its management will require a steady hand, which a President Clinton is more likely to provide than a President Rubio, or, God forbid, a President Trump. 
Vladimir Frolov is an international afffairs analyst.
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