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English \ Politics \ Obama's Summit in Russia: Which Side 'Blinks' First?

Interviewee: Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor,

President Barack Obama's trip to Moscow from July 6-8 takes place at a time when both sides have said they want to improve relations. But CFR's top Russia expert, Stephen Sestanovich, says there are indications the summit could be marked by some hard bargaining on arms control issues, which are at the center of the talks. Russian officials have talked about linking any meaningful further agreement on downsizing nuclear arms to the United States dropping plans to put anti-ballistic missiles in Poland. "Some people in [the U.S.] government believe that the Russians think this is their moment to exploit Obama's interests in a successful summit and in nuclear arms control agreements that will help him to show that his aspirations for a nuclear-free world was a reality. The Americans' approach to this summit is actually a little more hard boiled. They're not prepared to make a lot of concessions merely to reach an agreement on START I [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty]," Sestanovich says. "What we're going to see is a little bit of [brinkmanship] in the last few days before the summit, and at the summit itself. The Americans are going to say to the Russians, 'we're prepared to walk away.' We'll see who blinks first. "

Complete interview:


Zbigniew Brzezinski: Russia must re-focus with post-imperial eyes



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