As violent mobs shouting Islamist slogans rampaged against U.S. diplomats across the Middle East and Southeast Asia in the weeks following the fatal Sept. 11, 2012 attack on U.S. officials in Libya, Russian President Vladimir Putin saw a chance to kick the United States when it was down. He did it by expelling the U.S. Agency for International Development, whose work -- advising private groups on democracy, as it has done since the 1990s -- he evidently resented. For good measure, he just cancelled the longstanding Nunn-Lugar program of cooperation on destroying and securing old Soviet weapons of mass destruction. His message: Russia doesn't need any help from the Americans.
These moves by Putin are just the latest in a long string of affronts and rebuffs mocking U.S. President Barack Obama's hope that he could "reset" U.S.-Russian relations.