Until very recently the Kremlin dismissed the possibility that Washington might seriously reevaluate the format and style of its relations with Russia. It might appear ironic, but the main thesis of the Task Force report -- that the progressive curtailing of democracy in Russia leaves space only for limited and selective cooperation with the United States -- is entirely compatible with the recent course of Russian foreign policy. What makes this kind of argument more convincing is that it is always so much easier not to take demanding steps that would require consistent follow-up, presuming that the ability of the West to influence Moscow is quite limited. It is in fact far greater than even the authors of the Task Force report admit, and Russia's dependency upon the EU energy market provides more instruments for a pro-active policy. It is not too late for President Bush to take a new look in Putin's eyes and re-evaluate the Russian leader's intentions.
Baev, Pavel K. (2006) Moscow Counts the Pros and Cons of 'Selective Cooperation', Eurasia Daily Monitor. 13 March.