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How the U.S.-Russia Relationship Got So Bad

And why its problems will outlast both presidents.

JUNE 18, 2021

By , a national security and intelligence reporter at Foreign Policy.

“Putin really thought that now there’s really a moment when we can be allies and work together,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

It was to be short lived, however, as a variety of factors converged in the early 2000s to considerably darken Putin’s view of the West and stoke feelings of paranoia, starting with the George W. Bush administration’s decision to withdraw from the anti-ballistic missile treaty in 2002.

“That was a knife in the back for Putin, when he felt that all this fundamental basis of relations started to fall apart,” said Stanovaya. The matter is still raw: It was the first thing Putin raised during his press conference in Geneva on Wednesday in response to a question about his own unpredictable style of foreign policy.

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