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Obama must reset relations with Russia along economic lines

When Vladimir Putin arrives in Camp David for the G8 summit in May, President Obama must be ready to lay out the framework for a new reset. With Russian membership in the WTO, the US and Europe could create incentives for greater rule of law in the economy and elsewhere in Russia.

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the All Russia People's Front near Moscow April 3. The front, created by Putin, is supposed to supply his party with new ideas and a new face. Op-ed writers Frances G. Burwell and Svante Cornell suggest that a US and European economic "reset" with Russia can better encourage rights and freedoms in that country.

Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Pool/Reuters

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As Vladimir Putin prepares for his May inauguration and return to the Russian presidency, the United States must design a new relationship with this often difficult leader and his country.

The “Russian Reset” of President Obama’s first term sought to overcome the strain in relations of recent years in order to achieve some specific foreign policy goals. It brought a new arms control treaty, Russian cooperation in transiting military material to Afghanistan, and help in pressuring Iran. But simply continuing the reset along the same lines is a dead end.

There is little likelihood of any significant progress in nuclear arms control because any new accord would require more meaningful reductions in weapons. The US and NATO engagement in Afghanistan is winding down. And Russia seems unwilling to pursue further sanctions against the Iranian threat of proliferation.

When Mr.  Putin arrives in Camp David for the G8 summit in May, President Obama must be ready to lay out the framework for a new reset.

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