What Does Reset Mean?
Anne Applebaum makes a solid point in the Washington Post this morning:
Any president can legitimately call for a fresh start in his relations with the world, and none more so than this president, who replaces an unpopular predecessor. Sooner or later, however, Barack Obama will also have to make hard decisions about regimes that oppose U.S. policy for reasons deeper than dislike of George W. Bush. If Russia persists in its occupation of Georgia, do we accept it? If Russia uses its energy policy to blackmail Europe, do we go along with that, too?
The rest of the world is no different. It’s a fine thing to open diplomatic relations with Iran or Syria — I’ve always thought it extremely stupid that we have no embassy, and thus no resident intelligence officer, in Tehran — as long as we remember that talking itself is not a solution: Sometimes more “dialogue” reveals deeper differences. It’s also a fine thing for the president to issue greetings on the occasion of the Persian new year, but that might not dampen the popularity of Iran’s nuclear program among both adherents and opponents of its current government. What then?
I’ve been critical of the notion of a “reset” in U. S.-Russian relations, largely because I think the metaphor is extraordinarily inapt. We have no default position with respect to Russia. You can’t return to a nonexistent initial state.
I’m not antithetical to the Obama Administration. However, I would like to know the answers to some of Anne Applebaum’s questions. I know what “peregruzka” means. It isn’t “reset”. What does “reset” mean?