There are numerous legitimate concerns about Russia’s slip back towards authoritarian-style governance, but at the same time, Russia turns out to be an increasingly important global player.
On Iran, Russia has been diplomatically creative and courageous in the deals it has offered to relieve stress in a brewing Iran-U.S./Europe stand-off on Iran’s nuclear pretensions. While there is no deal yet, Russia gets points for dealing directly with Iran — something America has managed to do with North Korea bilaterally and multilaterally but which we resist doing with Iran.
Also, it has just received the top Hamas leadership and is working to help Hamas better understand its options and choices regarding Israel and the needs of its Palestinian constituents.
These are healthy moves.
— Steve Clemons