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Krielaars, Michel

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NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 06/07/2009

Obama condemned to realpolitik

Public life in Moscow seems little affected by the visit of US President Barack Obama. He was given a cool reception, the national daily NRC Handelsblad writes: "The calm is indicative of the poor relations between the White House and the Kremlin. Although President Medvedev offered Obama a couple of political gifts such as access to Russian airspace for US transport aircraft headed for Afghanistan, it doesn't look like the coming days will bring many concrete results. The main reason is that the Kremlin still sees the United States as the greatest threat to Russia. … The main obstacle to good mutual relations is Russia's stubborn resistance to the US's plans for Nato membership for Ukraine and Georgia. Russia sees these two countries as part of its sphere of influence where the United States has no business interfering. … For the sake of keeping peace Obama appears to be condemned to a realpolitik that focuses on concrete international issues and leaves Russia's domestic politics for the most part unaffected."

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