Definitive

Russia's Obama Conundrum

When Barack Obama was elected president, Russian officials apparently debated whether to send him warm congratulations or standoffish acknowledgement. The incident captured a larger debate in Russian circles: Do they try to twist his arm into supporting their positions should they be conciliatory and hope Obama is softer than Bush was? There does not yet seem to be a consensus, but both camps aim, above all, to convince Obama to cancel Bush’s plan to build a missile defense system in Poland. According to one expert, "Moscow is saying: 'If you want to change the world, as Obama wants, then we will be the biggest obstacle unless you deal with us'."