Russian Ambassador to U.S.: Relations Aren’t at Cold War Level, Yet

Russian Ambassador to the U.S. warns of deteriorating relations between the two countries over Syria

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Russias President Vladimir Putin welcomes President Barack Obama at the start of the G20 summit on September 5, 2013 in Saint Petersburg.

Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak says that U.S. and Russian relations aren’t as bad as they were during the Cold War—yet.

“I’ve been listening to the discourse of relations between Russia and the United States going back to the Cold War,” Kislyak said at an event hosted by the Center for the National Interest. “I’m concerned that they’re not in good shape. I’m concerned where they’re going. But I don’t think they’re going back to the Cold War, yet.”

Kislyak’s comments came hours after President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Syria on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Russia and agreed to disagree on how to handle the spiraling civil war ravaging the Middle Eastern nation. “He doesn’t agree with me, I don’t agree with him. But we listened to each other,” Putin told reporters in St. Petersburg.

Kislyak repeated Russia’s warnings that if the U.S. choses to strike unilaterally it will not only harm U.S. and Russian relations, but “regional stability… and international norms.” Russia has moved eight warships to the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast in part to counter America’s five warships already there, and in part to help support and evacuate Russian citizens in Syria. There are an estimated 30,000 Russian citizens living in Syria, which is home to Russia’s last naval base in the region, Tartus.

Russia has expressed doubts about the validity of U.S. and European intelligence showing that Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, a Russian ally, was behind a chemical weapons attack last month that killed anywhere from 400 to 1,400 people, according to varying estimates. A Russian investigation into a smaller chemical weapons attack near Aleppo in March pointed to the Syrian opposition.

“The Russian press is all talking about al Qaeda cells arrested in Baghdad this week who had equipment to make Sarin gas,” says Paul Saunders, a Russian expert at the Center for the National Interest. “There are two different narratives, two different discussions, and they are totally disconnected.”

Kislyak bemoaned the refusal by leadership in both chambers of Congress to meet with a delegation from the Russian duma to discuss Syria. “There is no interaction between the legislatures… the judiciaries do not speak. So you have two of three branches of government that don’t communicate,” Kislyak said. “It is striking more than 20 years after the Cold War how weak our communication is, even in normal times, let alone times of crisis.”

In recent years trade between Russia and the U.S. has dropped off. Failure to make progress on a range of issues such as missile defense, arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, human rights and civil society issues prompted Obama to cancel his planned summit with Putin before the G20, according to White House Spokesman Jay Carney in announcing the decision in August. Russia’s decision to grant Edward Snowden asylum also hasn’t helped.

While the Syrian civil war has long been a proxy conflict between the Sunni Gulf States like Saudia Arabia and Shia Iran, it is increasingly becoming a proxy battle between Russia and the U.S. Russia continues to arm Assad and the U.S. is working with France to step up efforts to give Syrian opposition groups heavy arms in the wake of last month’s chemical attack.

The ambassador couldn’t say what Russia’s response would be if the U.S. Congress backs Obama’s plan to strike Syria and the U.S. moves ahead with the attack. “I’m not sure if we go from bad to worse or if we’re reached some point in the relationship and things will improve,” says Dimitri Simes, head of the Center for the National Interest. “It is a very sensitive moment.”

47 comments
sallyedelstein
sallyedelstein


Is the cold war being taken out of the deep freeze?

Having caught a cold war chill I never could quite shake, the current frosty relations between Obama and Putin send a shiver down my spine, as childhood memories of the cold war are quickly defrosted. The deepening mistrust and accusations of lying between the US and Russia feels like deja vu all over again. I recall my suburban towns  mid-century July 4th parade that  was co-sponsored by those Cold War Crusaders of truth from "The Crusade For Freedom" the privately funded donation drive that raised "truth dollars" to support Radio Free Europe. A visual look at truth and the cold war http://wp.me/p2qifI-1Et

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

About the fact that the insurgents have used chemical weapons repeatedly, evidence of a great many, and they openly roam across the vast expanses of the Internet. That government forces used chemical weapons against its own citizens, such "evidence" was not disclosed (we are asked to believe their word). If there is evidence they need to put on review, and together with the evidence of examination UN communicated to the UN security Council as required by the joint communique of the G8 countries and as required by the international law (The UN Charter).
If the United States will come in the UN security Council to ask permission to invade Syria (not waiting for an examination of the UN) and without any evidence, Russia and China will use the veto - it's obvious.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Bashar al-Assad is not an ally of Russia.
Military allies of Russia is CSTO.
Barack Hussein intends to review the results of the WWII - that's what we are indeed concerned.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Not cold war level yet. Letting Horsey Faced Kerry cool his heels for three hours before giving him your time is not cold war level yet. Calling the same Horsey Faced a liar is not cold war level yet. Treating the Fraudulent One we call our president with open contempt and disdain in their public appearances isnt cold war level yet. So, what constitutes Cold War level ? Slapping Obama around in public ?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Are not at Cold War level yet. Letting the Sec of State cool his heels for three hours, calling a liar not yet. Showing opendisdain and contempt for the President not at Cold War level yet. So what constitute a Cold War level ? Putin slapping the Fraud we call our president around ?

glennra3
glennra3

Russia is a paper-power and has been for over 200 years. Were it not for cold winters they would have almost no military victories to their credit.

What Dobby the House Elf thinks means less than nothing to me.



united_we_stand
united_we_stand

Obama is starting a proxy war with Russia to take away their main middle east military asset because Putin won't hand over Edward Snowden to them. This is the start of the 'grave consequences' our leaders promised if Russia did not comply. Our leaders are fools starting war with a nuclear superpower in an attempt to distract and cover up their crimes against their own citizens (and the world).

swagger
swagger

why do we seem to want to adopt syria with a decade or more of nation building if assad goes?  the people of the middle east have many problems to work out after the western empires sorta kinda let the go on their own inside arbitrary borders and under governments based on force and coercion over their people. 

TomZart
TomZart

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TomZart
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TomZart
TomZart

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sridhar.sid
sridhar.sid

Any bombing of Syria will destabilize the whole region,oil supplies will impact Asian economies most. The US is soon reaching self sufficiency and can therefore afford to lob a few bombs(million) into Assad's palace. In the current economic climate, the US is the only country that can survive this chaos

mrxexon
mrxexon

It's good to see Moscow acting as a much needed counterbalance to our superpower status. Just like the old days.

You've seen how our military presence has expanded around the world after the fall of the USSR. We've turned into a schoolyard bully for hire. 

The rush to war always has the same dynamic to it. For thousands of years. It becomes a cheerleading session. And if you don't show that cheer, you're going to be demonized for it by those who support a rush to war.

The only known antedote, is to outnumber them and shout them down. So get busy. The hour is damn late.

x

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

I'm surprised he met Obama with his shirt on.

davidwehbe
davidwehbe

Ah the Russians, always backing evil. Experts in destroying countries then leaving. Allies of Serbs, disappeared when NATO Struck. Allies of Saddam, disappeared when US Struck. Allies of Syria, did nothing when Israel struck over and over again. Allies of Ghaddafi, did nothing. The fact of the matter is, the Russians like to feel important and will do the opposite of what the US will do, even if it means courting the devil himself. Keeping a ruthless murdering thug in power is more important than 120K dead and one third of 25 million displaced. Like the Syrians going to forgive and forget the Russian stance in history. Putin has a chance to stand by the people rather than the dictator. Assad may weather the storm a bit longer, but eventually freedom prevails, washing away anyone associated with Assad. Russia must for once do what's right rather than whatever antagonizes the west. 

almonjer
almonjer

When Sadaam Hussein used poison gas on the Kurds and Iranians that the US SUPPLIED TO HIM, the US VETOED the resolution condemning him.  I will support this when Obama's kids and the kids of Congress are on the FRONTLINE- until then I will go with this:


FIVE REASONS NOT TO BELIEVE ONE WORD ON SYRIA COMING OUT OF IRAQ:
5) IRAQ WAR 2 LIES (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/iraqi-defector-al-janabi-codenamed-curveball-admits-wmd/story?id=12922213)
4) IRAQ WAR 1/THE GULF WAR  LIES (http://911review.com/precedent/decade/incubators.html)
3) THE 911 HIJACKERS CAME FROM CANADA LIES WHEN THEY ACTUALLY WERE GIVEN VISAS BY DC
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2009/04/24/911_terrorists_came_from_canada_mccain_insists.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-503611.html
2) DC POLITICIANS/THE NSA/CIA ARE NOT BREAKING INTO YOUR EMAIL AND PHONE CALLS LIES
http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/12/4614968/president-obama-james-clapper-dni-surveillance-review-group
ANYONE THAT GOES FOR THIS IS A SLAVE SIMPLE AND PLAIN
http://www.propublica.org/article/the-nsas-secret-campaign-to-crack-undermine-internet-encryption  
1)THE LAVON AFFAIR (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavon_Affair)

KERRY AND OBAMA SOUND LIKE THESE PEOPLE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs4MxB18NHE&list=PLofd5uZxZtpiCnzRA6IqYF8SOW4lPhOKr

Apostate
Apostate

In an increasingly multi-polar world (and it will be fully multi-polar in a decade or so) we really, really need to respect, in practical terms, the interests and opinions of other Great Powers. And it would be nice if this dogmatic president respected the opinions of his voters to say nothing of at least taking note of our financial and military overstretch.

Yoshi
Yoshi

Because they still retain a viable and powerful capability to participate in WW3.

glennra3
glennra3

And why exactly do we care what a nation of alcoholics who have not yet mastered the intricacies of the flush toilet think?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde Remind us again do we have thousands of US, British and West German tanks staring down thousands of Russian, East German and Polish ones in Europe? That is what adults call a Cold War.

glennra3
glennra3

@ReneDemonteverde 

People like you hate your own president so much that you would side with a Russian tyrant first.


I always knew you folks were more loyal to your dogma than your country.

glennra3
glennra3

@ReneDemonteverde 

The great thing about our country is that you are allowed to blather on about how much you hate it without fear of repercussions.


Unlike your beloved Russia

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@glennra3 Tell that to Obama, the Fraudulent One posing as Commander in Chief. Russia maybe paper power but him being treated in public with open contempt and disdain by Putin sure doesnt show it is a paper tiger.

coloradobob1976
coloradobob1976

@sridhar.sid REALLY? Are you yourself ready to head into danger (no boots on the ground my butt!) or do you prefer your son/daughter/grandchildren or better yet the neighbors kids. I don't WANT to have to survive a chaos that can/could have been prevented.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@SmoothEdward1 Good thing Obama met Putin with his trousers on. Otherwise it will only confirm what many are suspecting. The Fraudulent One have no cojones.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@davidwehbe Maybe. But Putin seems only the only leader willing to defend Christians in the Middle East. Nobody even that Fraud we call our President, despite his claim he is a Christian will mention publicly his condemnation of Christians being killed and harassed in Egypt and Syria. Not so with Muslims. He would be the first to condemn and protect Islam.


formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@davidwehbe 

Bend over and kiss your butt for your freedom.  Russia gave it to you in WW2.  The dictators you mention were bff with the US more than Russia.  The fact is that Russia has not waged the war nor cost the lives as US aggression, mostly in fear of Russia.  You are too blind to recognize it, but the Syrian rebels are not Syrian, and they are your worst nightmare.  You know nothing.

yodadog
yodadog

@davidwehbe The first part of your post I agree with-the Russians have always behaved that way. But for us, the Syrians will only remember that we attacked them, not that the Russians abandoned them. And I disagree that freedom will prevail when Assad falls-Islam and chaos will prevail. It's a no win situation for us, that we need to stay out of for once. Only then could we possibly claim a higher road for once.

glennra3
glennra3

@Apostate 

Why should we respect the opinion of a dictatorial tyrant?


ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@glennra3 @ReneDemonteverde A President who hates his country to the point of humiliating it by bowing and and scraping himself in public before its enemies ? A President who calls himself Christian   but will not lift a finger or condemn Christians being killed and persecuted around the world ? A President who send secret messages like more flexibility to Putin ? A President who promised to be a unifier but turned out to be the most racist of them all ? And lastly a President who knowing the precarious economy will not limit the expenses of his family and his cronies by splurging themselves ? Give me a break.


ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@glennra3 @ReneDemonteverde At least Putin loves his country more than this Fraud loves his. Everything Putin does is geared to the interest of the Motherland. What about the Fraudulent One ?

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

People like you have such an iirational hated for Barack Obama that you support Vladimir Putin, a truly evil man. Obama isn't the cause of the things wrong with your life. The real fraudulent one is Putin, masgarading as a statesman.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@glennra3 @Apostate Because you also respect the opinion of our home grown tyrant. And more people and countries are listening to him more than the idiot we have at the White House.

Apostate
Apostate

@glennra3 @Apostate If said tyrant (although Putin strikes me as more a popular strong-man than tyrant) is the leader of another Great Power? Yes,  you respect his opinion in terms of political and military clout.

SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

I'm sorry, I just don't buy that. "He" is not responsible. The wealth disparity and the resentment it caused was in motion long before he arrived on the scene. To a large extent, it made his election possible. The economic debacle of 2007 just made it worse, especially when we look at where the benefits have gone in this so-called recovery. The system is rigged and greater numbers of people are coming to realize it. As far as enmity between the races, he has by in large tried to keep his race out of it. We white people seem to be the ones obsessed with race. If he was more of the far left would like him.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@SmoothEdward1 You would too if you look at what is happening to our country. I look at that perspective. He has destroyed this country, as if you do not know it. What he did worst perspective wise is the racism and enmity that he instituted between races, between social strata, the haves and have nots. Envy now seems to be the commonality. Which is just sad because those who promulgated envy are the ones who benefited the most monetarily from Obama and his policies.

glennra3
glennra3

@Apostate @glennra3 

Russia has little military clout. They have a great deal of military equipment, but the Great Powers have been over estimating Russia's military prowess for 200 years.


Were it not for cold winters Russia would have almost no military victories to their credit.