Obama's 'reset' with Russia was actually a pretty good idea

The much-maligned initiative led to some major breakthroughs

Reset button
(Image credit: (AP Photo))

It was an easy punch line from the moment the policy was announced in 2009. Five years later, with Russia now in control of the Crimean Peninsula once more, the idea of a "reset" with Moscow has become an even larger target for critics of the Obama administration. But in taking aim, many of those hurling metaphorical stones at the White House — asking the 21st-century version of the question "Who lost China?" — miss that the idea of the reset was a sound one. It was just one that had run its course.

When the Obama administration began touting the prospects of a policy "reset" with Russia, the response in many quarters was to dismiss the initiative as naive. It didn't help matters that Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, delivered a giant red button to her Russian counterpart that was famously mislabeled to bear the Russian word for "overcharged" instead of "reset." And in the aftermath of Russia's military incursion into Crimea, if you were to print them all out, the sheer number of articles devoted to simply saying "I told you so" with regard to Vladimir Putin's intentions would provide a solid barrier between Russia and Ukraine.

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Hayes Brown is National Security Reporter at Think Progress, covering international affairs and U.S. foreign relations. His work has appeared at Foreign Policy, UN Dispatch, and he has appeared on the BBC, MSNBC, CBC, and other media outlets discussing matters of national and international security. Hayes graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in international relations.