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Oct 25

The Risks of the Reset: Why Washington Must Watch Its Step with Moscow

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In 2009, the Obama Administration announced a “reset” of relations with Russia. The reset came in the wake of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, which brought U.S.-Russian relations to a post-Cold War low. Since then, the “reset” has become a centerpiece of American foreign policy, and has been embodied in the negotiation and ratification of the New START Treaty in 2010, as well as in U.S. hopes that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would be the face of a new, modernizing, and friendly Russia.

The announcement last month by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he will return to the Russian presidency in 2012 raises further serious doubts about the “reset” policy, doubts that have only been exacerbated by the refusal of the Russian Justice Ministry to register a prominent opposition party, by Russian pressure on independent states like Ukraine and Georgia, by Russia’s relations with rogue states such as Iran, and by the workings of a justice system that has – in the case of Sergei Magnitsky – attracted bipartisan concern in the United States.

American policy towards Russia must certainly reflect American interests. But it must also reflect the values that shape those interests, and the emphasis that we place on limited government, the rule of law, human rights, economic freedom, democratic politics, and the sovereignty of democratic nation-states. A foreign policy that does not respect these values, summed up in the concept of American exceptionalism, will not command the support of the American people. It is particularly incumbent on conservatives to recognize the importance of American leadership based on our founding principles, and to warn of the risks posed when the United States fails to respect these principles.

Please join a distinguished group of experts for this all-day conference, featuring a keynote address on the U.S.-Russia relationship by Speaker of the House John Boehner, a closing keynote by chess grandmaster and leader of the Russian opposition Garry Kasparov, and panels with experts on the risks posed by the reset of relations with Russia to America’s strategic interests, economic freedom, and human rights and the rule of law.


8:30 a.m. Registration

9:30 a.m. Panel 1 – The Strategic Risks of the Reset

Baker Spring
, F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy, The Heritage Foundation
Stephen J. Blank, Research Professor of National Security Affairs, U.S. Army War College
Dr. Svante Cornell, Director of Research, Caucasus/Central Asia Institute, Johns Hopkins University
The Honorable Michael Turner (R-OH), Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D, Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation (Host)

11:00 a.m. Panel 2 – The Economic Risks of the Reset

Jeff Gedmin
, Chief Executive Officer and President, Legatum Institute
Daniel Kaufmann, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution Chrystia Freeland, Global Editor-at-Large, Reuters
David Satter, Senior Fellow, The Hudson Institute
The Honorable Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Senior Fellow for Russian and European Studies, The Heritage Foundation (Host)

12:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Keynote Address – Reasserting American Exceptionalism in the U.S.-Russia Relationship

The Honorable John Boehner (R-OH),
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President, The Heritage Foundation (Host)

2:15 p.m. Panel 3 – The Risks to the Rule of Law

Donald Jensen
, Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University
Arch Puddington, Director of Research, Freedom House
Clifford D. May, President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
The Honorable Trent Franks (R-AZ), Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Charles “Cully” Stimson, Senior Legal Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation (Host)

4:00 p.m. Closing Keynote – Why Vladimir Putin Is Immune to the American Reset

Garry Kasparov
, Chess Grandmaster and Leader of the Russian Opposition
Lee Edwards, Ph.D., Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, The Heritage Foundation (Host)

More About the Speakers