THE SOCHI SUMMIT: WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
"We agree that the foundation for the U.S. and Russian relationship should be based on the core principles of friendship, cooperation, openness, and predictability. The strength and stability of this foundation will rest on expanding the network of ties between our governments and our peoples and on the positive examples we set for our societies and for the world as we confront new and emerging threats to global security together as partners. We will strive to identify areas of positive cooperation where our interests coincide, and pursue joint projects and actions that will bring our countries closer together, while minimizing the strain on our partnership where our interests diverge. Going forward, we intend to deepen our cooperation wherever possible, while taking further, even more far-reaching steps, to demonstrate our joint leadership in addressing new challenges to global peace and security in accordance with the principles of international law, taking into consideration the role of the United Nations.In pursuit of these goals, the United States and the Russian Federation will consult closely on the development of initiatives that will serve our common interests.
We acknowledge that today's security environment is fundamentally different than during the Cold War. We must move beyond past strategic principles, which focused on the prospect of mutual annihilation, and focus on the very real dangers that confront both our nations. These include especially the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. Reflecting the changed nature of our strategic relationship, we will take steps together to counter these new and emerging challenges.
We have reiterated our intention to carry out strategic offensive reductions to the lowest possible level consistent with our national security requirements and alliance commitments.
Substantial reductions of strategic offensive forces have been carried out under the START Treaty, which served as a key instrument in this context. The Moscow Treaty was an additional important step and remains in effect. We will continue development of a legally binding post-START arrangement.
We are fully committed to the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and consider the arrangement we are pursuing to be a further step in implementing our commitments under Article VI of the Treaty.
We discussed the issue of missile defense. Both sides expressed their interest in creating a system for responding to potential missile threats in which Russia and the United States and Europe will participate as equal partners.
The Russian side has made clear that it does not agree with the decision to establish sites in Poland and the Czech Republic and reiterated its proposed alternative. Yet, it appreciates the measures that the U.S. has proposed and declared that if agreed and implemented such measures will be important and useful in assuaging Russian concerns.
We agreed to intensify our dialogue after Sochi on issues concerning MD cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally".
"U.S.-Russia Strategic Framework Declaration", 6 April 2008, in www.state.gov.
The meeting at Sochi was, the de facto the second act, of the NATO summit at Bucharest. In that summit, is is self-evident from much of the commentary both in the USA and in Europe, that there was in effect a climb-down by the Americans and their Central European allies to Moskva's perceived veto of MAP status for Ukraine and Georgia (on the European press reaction from Russia and Ukraine to Paris, see: "European media split over NATO," in www.bbc.co.uk. See also: "Check out Triaging NATO:Mr. Bush [The Younger] goes to Bucharest," in www.cdi.org). This climb down, by the USA was only partially made up for, by the European allies' endorsement, of the American missile defence shield concept for Poland the Czech Republic. With some vague language thrown in that in future years, the allies would consider extending the idea to all members of the alliance. This sop was not to the liking of Moskva, however much that it was in fact merely a 'sop'to the Americans.
From Bucharest, Bush and Putin went to the Russian resort on the Black Sea, Sochi and, for the final time held discussions on the nature of the Russo-American relationship. What did they come up with? It would be uncharitable and perhaps inaccurate to say that they merely (in the words of Bismarck) were 'papering over the cracks'. But au fond, that is what they were doing. Neither gentleman has either the time (Putin) nor the political will (Bush), to remake the relationship. That is something for their successors to do, or not. What however they were able to do, and, perhaps that is all that can be asked of them at this date, is to leave off, to part, on friendly and agreeable terms. With perhaps, yes perhaps, the language concerning "intensify[ing] our dialogue after Sochi on issues concerning MD cooperation," being a harbinger of possible future, co-operation on this rather difficult, if just the same, illusory issue. At the very worse, the meeting at Sochi, allows both men to part as, if not necessarily as 'partners,' than certainly not as enemies or rivals either. Given the rhetoric which both sides, have indulged in during the last fourteen months, that is perhaps the best that the two sides can come up with at the present time. And, diplomatically speaking that is no more than what we can reasonably expect. Diplomacy being, again in the words of Bismark, 'the art of the possible'.