IN OTHER WORDS : US-Russia ties

Bush and Putin’s agreement on Sunday after their meeting in Bratislava to improve the security of nuclear sites and materials heralds an important measure that benefits everyone but the terrorists. The same is true of Russia’s pledge to stop sales of shoulder-fired missiles capable of bringing down aircraft. There is, however, a question of how to shape US-Russian relations when Putin is concentrating power in his own hands. The West needs Russia’s cooperation, but severe measures would likely to enhance the jingoist forces in Russia. But in many areas, the West can grant or refuse what he desires. Foremost is the Kremlin’s ambition to be admitted into the WTO. For that to happen, the US will have to cancel the Cold War Jackson-Vanik amendment, which denies trade relations to countries that restrict emigration or lack free markets. If Putin expects to gain entry, he will have no choice but to meet WTO terms and he cannot be selling missiles or permitting control of fissile material.

Bush should be telling Putin that the path to Russian prosperity must pass through a political resolution of the war in Chechnya, removal of Russian military bases from Georgia, an end to meddling in Ukrainian politics, the creation of an independent judiciary, and a decision to refrain from changing the Russian Constitution to allow himself a third term. — The Boston Globe