Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Since President Bush first met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, the trust between the two nations has eroded.
Since President Bush first met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, the trust between the two nations has eroded. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
In the early summer of 2001, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for more than two hours at a castle in Slovenia. The U.S. president came away saying, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy ... I was able to get a sense of his soul."
Since then, the trust has eroded on both sides, as the United States accuses Putin of subverting democracy, corruptly enriching his cronies and undermining U.S. efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Are the two nations moving toward a new version of the Cold War?
Six experts on Russia policy recently took on that question in an Oxford-style debate, part of the series Intelligence Squared U.S. The debates are modeled on a program begun in London in 2002: Three experts argue in favor of the proposition and three argue against.
In the latest debate, held on Oct. 30, the formal proposition was "Russia Is Becoming Our Enemy Again." The debate was held at the Asia Society and Museum in New York City and moderated by Edward Lucas, the central and east European correspondent for The Economist.
In a vote before the debate, 41 percent of audience members supported the motion and 23 percent opposed it. Some 36 percent were undecided. After the debate, 47 percent of audience members agreed with the proposition that "Russia Is Becoming Our Enemy Again," 41 percent opposed it and 12 percent remained undecided. As Lucas put it, "the motion carried, but by a much smaller margin than at the beginning."
Produced for broadcast by WNYC, New York.
Highlights from the debate: