With Ukraine still torn between pro-European and pro-Russian factions, New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is calling on the Obama Administration to take a strong stand against Russia.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Ayotte said the so-called “Reset Policy” with President Vladimir Putin had failed. She pointed out the country’s siding with the Assad regime in Syria, harboring NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and alleged violation of a decades-old nuclear arms treaty.
The Cold War might be over but the two former enemies are hardly on warm terms. Sore points for the U.S. include Russia’s shielding of NSA-leaker Edward Snowden, its anti-gay laws, and its support for the Syrian regime. But Putin-led Russia has its own complaints against the West, and seeks greater respect on the world stage. Now, These geopolitical dramas form the backdrop to the Sochi Olympics, considered a chance for Russia to boost its global reputation.
While landing the 2014 Winter Olympic games was a crowning political achievement for Russian President Vladimir Putin, preparations for the Sochi games have not been so triumphant. With just three weeks until opening ceremonies, security officials are actively chasing down members of a terrorist group that has publicly threatened to disrupt the games. The seaside resort town of Sochi and neighboring sites of Olympic events have a long history of anti-government friction. Only a day’s drive from Chechnya, the region borders recently disputed territory with Georgia and was the site of an alleged genocide perpetrated by Russian Tsars in the 19th century. Our guest is writer Brett Forrest, he examined the landscape and geopolitics of the upcoming 2014 games in the January issue of National Geographic magazine.
When Russians go to the polls Sunday, they will have several choices for president. But none is a serious threat to Vladimir Putin, who has been the most powerful figure in Russia for the past 12 years.
Boris Makarenko, a longtime observer of Russian politics, says the candidates arrayed against Putin are all more or less part of what Kremlin leaders call "the systemic opposition."
In other words, he says, they are "the tolerable opposition ... which can never even hope of replacing them in the Kremlin."