Hillary Rodham Clinton, our (presumably) next Secretary of State, is facing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. The New York Times op-ed page has put together a list of questions to Ms. Clinton from ten “experts,” including Foud Ajami, Walter Russell Meade, some guy named Mikhail Saakashvili, and yours truly.
Imagine we see broad demands for truly democratic presidential and parliamentary elections in Russia. Should the United States join in these calls for new elections, despite their destabilizing potential? What should the American reaction be if the opposite scenario takes place, with Vladimir Putin returning as president in a new “election” and further tightening the authoritarian screws? How would we maintain a functional relationship with Moscow without condoning the further strangulation of democracy in Russia?