Some senior administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and some hard-liners in the Pentagon, are advocating the continuation of what they confirm has been a White House-imposed communications blackout on most dealings with Russia and a halt to nearly all bilateral initiatives on security matters.
Many U.S. officials said the freeze couldn't come at a worse time. They cite intelligence showing that the Caucasus region increasingly is becoming a crossroads for Islamic extremists, criminal mafias, black market traffickers and corrupt government officials.
Some high-level meetings have been postponed indefinitely, including a trip to Russia by John Rood, the acting undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, to discuss various security issues and to negotiate a new pact to replace the existing Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START.
Russia's cooperation is needed to secure its own nuclear and chemical weapons stockpiles and those of about 20 other countries, and to prevent WMD material, technology and know-how from getting into the hands of terrorists, Mahley and other officials said.
For more better analysis, what Dr. Jeffrey said.
To steal a catch phrase from Professor Brad DeLong, why oh why can't we have a better foreign policy apparatus in the United States?