Vladimir Putin did not accept the U.S. intentions to create a new format of relations between the two largest states. According to David Greenaway, a journalist of Boston Globe, Obama has tried to set a new course for American-Russian relations, but his attempt has failed. Realizing that there is no military option with that nuclear power, the current president of the United States is creating a long-term policy of containment "to curb Putin's aggressive ambitions."
Such a policy in relation to foreign policy challenges of the United States was conducted by another American president – Harry Truman.
There are a lot of questions to the Western former policy. "Did the West err in humiliating Russia after the Soviet Union collapsed? Was it necessary to push NATO so far east?" However, the author says, all these things are in the past, and Obama "has to play the hand he has." In addition to other problems, he is forced to deal with Putin, who is showing signs of "the same neurotic world views and instinctive insecurity as Stalin, with a toxic mix of nationalism and victimization."
The essence of Obama's strategy is to "curb" Russia with the help of sanctions, political alliances, as well as military force as a deterrence. American President is "immeasurably" helped by the collapse of oil prices on which Putin depends so much. "Russia will not give back Crimea, but it might be persuaded to desist in its aggression against Ukraine and other former Soviet states," the journalist says.
Normalization of relations with Cuba is also a part of Washington's policy of containment. The announcement about it was made shortly before the official visit of the "hawkish Russian official" to Havana. "With Putin testing NATO's defenses by aggressive flights that set NATO jets scrambling, the West does not want to see Russia regaining a foothold in Cuba."
"As important as it is to contain Putin's Russia, it is equally important not to let this escalate into the full-fledged Cold War that Truman faced. Putin is not Stalin, and his Russia is not the Soviet Union, a world power bent on domination everywhere," the journalist emphasizes.
As the author writes, Washington can still find the areas where cooperation with Moscow may be beneficial. At the same time, America should not allow its friends to involve themselves in confrontation with Russia, as Georgia tried to do during the Bush administration. Recent attempts of the Ukrainian parliament to apply for NATO membership have only worsened the situation, Greenway says.
The same long-term policy of deterrence will set the tone for a rising "China's aggressive nationalism." U.S. policy toward Asia should involve an increase of American naval presence in the region to protect the interests of the Allies and "slow down" the aggressive tendencies of Beijing. At the same time, Obama's doctrine "seeks to avoid confrontation whenever possible, encouraging China to play by the accepted geopolitical rules as its power rises".