Hot Docs: Pressing the Reset Button on U.S.-Russia Relations

The recession could open a window of opportunity for the Obama administration to reach out to Moscow.

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U.S.-Russia Relations Have Window of Opportunity: The global economic crisis and other challenges have opened a window of opportunity for an improvement of relations between Russian and the United States, argues a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The policy brief, called "Pressing the 'Reset Button' on U.S.-Russia Relations," says that President Obama has "an important opportunity to dramatically turn around U.S.-Russia relations" because of the economic crisis and its effect on Russia, Moscow's battered image after its war with Georgia, and Russia's use of energy resources as a weapon. "The United States needs a more constructive relationship with Russia to address many core global security issues, including nuclear security and nonproliferation, terrorism, energy, and climate change." The United States should renew cooperation with Russia on Afghanistan, establish an explicit Russia policy, and work with Russia on the issue of a missile defense, the report concludes.

2010 Census at High Risk: The Government Accountability Office says the 2010 Census is at "high risk" because of computer problems and untested methods. In congressional testimony, GAO officials noted that the 2010 census will employee 140,000 temporary workers to canvass every street in the country and that, even after adjusting for inflation, the count will be the most expensive ever at over $14 billion. The high costs are driven by "various societal trends—such as increasing privacy concerns, more non-English speakers, and people residing in makeshift and other nontraditional living arrangements—making it harder to find people and get them to participate in the census." The Census Bureau has made "considerable progress" in addressing GAO concerns, "but critical testing still remains to be performed before systems will be ready to support the 2010 Census," the GAO says.

Latino School Population Rises: Hispanic enrollment in some of the nation's largest public school districts continues to inch up, and Latino children now are in the majority or near majority in a number of large districts, according to an analysis by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California. In Chicago, 45.1 percent of first graders are Hispanic, compared with 41.1 percent of sixth graders and 35.2 percent of 12th graders. Hispanics comprise 74.5 percent of first graders in Los Angeles, 63.1 percent in Houston, 68.6 percent in Dallas, and 53.6 percent in San Jose, Calif. "This is a profound demographic change, which provides a challenge for American education, just as European immigrants created a new foundation for New York through their ambition to excel and succeed. Latinos, if provided support and respect, will be in a position to strengthen our cities and our nation," says Rodolfo de la Garza, a Columbia University professor and vice president of research at TRPI.