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Former ambassador says US needs constructive relationship with Russia's future leaders

According to Jon Huntsman, Putin "runs the country with unrivaled strength but his time will pass"

NEW YORK, October 8. /TASS/. The United States needs to cultivate constructive relationships with Russia’s future leaders, former US Ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman said in an article for the Wall Street Journal.

"When I served as US ambassador to Russia, the embassy in Moscow held a regular safety exercise called the ‘duck and cover drill’ … designed to save lives in the event of an attack," he said. "Having now completed my tenure in Moscow, it strikes me that the ‘duck and cover drill’ is a fitting metaphor for the defensive posture we as a country have taken in the US-Russia relationship. We have practiced the same approach toward Russia so long that it has now become reflexive - and detrimental to our long-term interests," the former ambassador pointed out.

According to Huntsman, Russian President Vladimir Putin "runs the country with unrivaled strength but his time will pass." "We need to do less obsessing about Mr. Putin and more thinking about the institutions and generations that will outlast him. Rather than cutting ourselves off from Russia, which is the inescapable effect of all these sanctions, we need to cultivate constructive relationships with those who will shape Russia’s post-Putin period," he emphasized.

"We need more, not less, dialogue with Russia. But first, we need to allow space for discussion about Russia among ourselves," Huntsman went on to say. "As security experts know, fear often has a paralyzing effect. If we allow fear to dictate our approach, we may never find or even consider policies that more effectively advance our national interests, improve the bilateral relationship and make the world safer," he noted.

When speaking about US sanctions on Moscow, Huntsman said that many of them "may be having the desired effect and should be maintained but not all." "Blithely implementing sanctions without making sure they fit into a larger strategy of engagement costs us the ability to shape outcomes," he added. "Our goal should be a Russia that is both a better partner and a more responsible global citizen."