The administration has been working behind the scenes for months to forge a new working relationship with Russia, despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in repairing relations with Washington or halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.
The National Security Council finished an extensive and comprehensive review of U.S policy toward Russia that included dozens of meetings and input from the State Department, Defense Department and several other agencies, according to three senior administration officials. At the end of the sometimes-contentious process, the President made a decision to continue to look for ways to work with Russia on a host of bilateral and international issues while also offering Putin a way out of the stalemate over the crisis in Ukraine.
Leading the charge has been the Secretary of State. The Secretary even even proposed going to Moscow and meeting with Putin directly.
In a separate attempt at outreach, the White House turned to an old friend of Putin’s for help…
…the Secretary of State has seemed more enthusiastic about mending ties with Russia than Obama himself. After the president gave a blistering critique of Russian behavior…the Secretary urged Lavrov to ignore his boss’s remarks, according to Lavrov. “The Secretary said we have so many serious things to discuss that of course that was unfortunate, let’s not focus on that,” Lavrov told Russian reporters.
The date of this activity was 2014. The President was Barack Obama and the Secretary of State was John Kerry.