Relations with the United States and Russia have never been amicable per say, but the two nations have worked substantially over the last several years to build trust and mutual cooperation. Since President Obama began his term, relations with Russia have been on the stronger side, and it is up to the United States to continue this trend. It is clear that President Obama intends to reset U.S. and Russia relations. And he's right to do so. The U.S. will benefit more from a close relationship with Russia.
Now that Vladamir Putin is President-elect, and will return as president in May, it is essential for the benefits of cooperation be laid out for both parties. Russia has already shown support by allowing NATO to use a Russian airbase for refueling and transit. President Obama has also made it clear that he is going to work with Russia to make sure that both nations has a relationship based on respect. He was caught admitting this to President Medvedev on an open mic. Through collaboration, both nations will come out stronger than by always approaching each other with caution and distrust.
The reset focuses on many aspects where the United States and Russia once disagreed on. This includes: the “New Start” nuclear arms reduction treaty, reaching an agreement on Iran, cooperation in the Afghanistan mission, and improving defense and security communication between the two nations. Although the nations have not reached their final agreements on these matters, these are clearly important topics that have affected US-Russia relations throughout the past, and will continue to do so well into the future. Through continued talks, the final agreements will help set the tone for how relations will remain.
Russia offering to cooperate with NATO is also an attempt to ease relations with the United States. Russian experts say "the apparent change of heart in Moscow is partly because of president-elect Vladimir Putin's desire to turn away from his sometimes-strident anti-American electoral rhetoric and return to more normal cooperation with the West.” Putin is not going to cease the reset, but seems to be welcoming it, and is trying to work to continue with it. The reset may be considered controversial, but it clearly has had more benefits than negative effects so far.
President Obama has been criticized for his reset, and open mic gaffe that occurred in March. Many feel that the open mic gaffe, where he told Medvedev to tell Putin that he will work on the missile defense issues more after the next elections, shows Obama’s bending backwards to please Russia. However, Obama has taken a clear stance on how he will work with Russia, and it has proven to be effective. Other candidates, like Romney, have not taken an official stance on U.S.-Russia relations.
Russia is now cooperating with NATO, talking more with the United States about issues like missile defense, reducing nuclear arms, and Iran. The reset that President Obama initiated, while knowing it would be controversial, has benefited both nations tremendously. The Cold War is over, and distrust only keeps that sentiments brought on from the Cold War alive. Obama has the right idea, and cooperation can efficiently end tensions that still exist today.