When presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin meet in Moscow next month, issues such as
START II, NATO expansion, trade with Iran and Iraq, and Russia's new draconian law on
religion are likely to dominate the agenda. To historians of US-Soviet relations, this agenda
should sound familiar as arms control, European security, regional conflicts, and human rights were the main components of most summit agendas between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This old agenda suggests that the promise of a new post-communist strategic partnership between the United States and Russia has not been realized. Especially as Russia continues to struggle in reforming its economy, many in the US have now concluded that engagement with this "basket case" is not worth the trouble--better to walk away from the failing project of internal reform and prepare instead to contain future external aggression.