Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Obama and Putin?

My guess is Obama’s first foreign policy move will surprise everyone. I think it will be a reaching out to Russia. There will be no illusions about Vladimir Putin, who has made it clear that he is a thug. But I think the Obamites will sense that there is no need to go out of ...

590871_090102_putin2.jpg
590871_090102_putin2.jpg

My guess is Obama's first foreign policy move will surprise everyone. I think it will be a reaching out to Russia. There will be no illusions about Vladimir Putin, who has made it clear that he is a thug. But I think the Obamites will sense that there is no need to go out of their way to create trouble here. Russia is in economic and demographic decline, especially with oil prices in the basement, so why rub its nose in it? Specifically, I think we might see a deal to move U.S. military supplies by rail through Russia and former Soviet Central Asia to the Afghan border. This will show cooperation, and also relieve pressure in Pakistan, where the Taliban and its allies lately have been embarrassing the government by attacking convoys carrying U.S. supplies for Afghanistan.

Photo of Putin at a meeting in December via ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

My guess is Obama’s first foreign policy move will surprise everyone. I think it will be a reaching out to Russia. There will be no illusions about Vladimir Putin, who has made it clear that he is a thug. But I think the Obamites will sense that there is no need to go out of their way to create trouble here. Russia is in economic and demographic decline, especially with oil prices in the basement, so why rub its nose in it? Specifically, I think we might see a deal to move U.S. military supplies by rail through Russia and former Soviet Central Asia to the Afghan border. This will show cooperation, and also relieve pressure in Pakistan, where the Taliban and its allies lately have been embarrassing the government by attacking convoys carrying U.S. supplies for Afghanistan.

Photo of Putin at a meeting in December via ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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