Washington, July 1 (ANI): President Barack Obama is seeking to transform the relationship between the US and Russia, notwithstanding the arrest of a Russian spy ring earlier this week.
According to the New York Times, Obama has resolved not to let the ghosts of the 20th century get in the way of his goals in the 21st.
His administration said Wednesday that it would not expel Russian diplomats and expressed no indignation that Russia was spying on it.
According to the NYT, Obama's plan is to largely ignore the issue publicly, leaving it to diplomats and investigators to handle, while he moves on to what he sees as more important matters.
"We would like to get to the point where there is just so much trust and cooperation between the United States and Russia that nobody would think of turning to intelligence means to find out things that they couldn't find out in other channels," Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of state in charge of Russia, told reporters.
He added: "We're apparently not there yet. I don't think anyone in this room is shocked to have discovered that."
But the spy scandal could embolden critics who argue that Obama has been overly optimistic about his capacity to reset a relationship freighted by longstanding suspicion and clashing interests.
"It ought to reset our rosy view of Russia and remind us that Russia is not a trustworthy ally," Senator Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, the ranking Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, said in an interview.
Bond said: "We have to deal with them. But wasn't there a great president who said, 'Trust but verify'?"
Even if Obama can assuage doubts on the treaty, the scandal has underscored the limits of the new relationship.
Russian leaders also appear interested in playing down the situation.
Although Moscow initially called the charges "baseless," the Foreign Ministry later took that statement off its Web site and confirmed that the suspects were Russian citizens.
Prime Minister Putin said the American authorities had gotten out of control in making the arrests, but then minimized it by saying relations "will not suffer."
Much of the Russian commentary suggested that the arrests were an effort by dark forces in the American government to undermine Obama's reset policy. (ANI)