This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," July 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on "The Journal Editorial Report," President Obama attempts to reset relations with the Kremlin. Did he succeed? We'll ask former chess champ and Russian opposition leader, Garry Kasparov.
Plus, Sarah Palin's surprise resignation and the future of the GOP. Do Republicans have any national leaders out there?
And the incredible shrinking stimulus. Where is the money? Where are the jobs?
"The Journal Editorial Report" starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The president and I agreed that the relationship between Russia and the United States has suffered from a sense of drift. We resolved to reset U.S.-Russia relations so that we can cooperate more effectively in areas of common interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
President Obama traveled to Moscow this week for the first summit between Russia and the United States in seven years. In his two days there, the president met with Russia political leaders, business people, activists and dissidents in an effort to reset relations between the two countries.
Former chess champion, Garry Kasparov, was part of a group of Russian opposition leaders that met with the president in Moscow. I spoke with him earlier this week and asked how the meeting went.
GARRY KASPAROV, FORMER CHESS CHAMPION & POLITICAL OPPONENT: I think that what is most important about the meeting is the fact that despite very strong Kremlin objections, this administration decided to build relations with Russian civil society and with Russian opposition groups. And they were listening. And he made certain comments. And I think that it was not just one of show, as president indicated, but it was — it's an attempt of the administration to open the new communication channels. And I think that's the main result of the meeting.
GIGOT: So just by making the appearance with you, the opposition leaders, that sends a message, do you think, to the Kremlin leadership that the American president is paying some attention to democratic processes in Russia?
KASPAROV: I think it is more. Because, unlike Bush administration or Clinton administration, Obama doesn't want to build relations with Russia and America, as relations between the White House and Kremlin. He shows that it's about Russian and American people and meeting oppositional leaders and meeting the NGOs. He did before. And meeting with the business groups. He indicated that it will not be business as usual, not like the relations between two leaders and the rest is irrelevant. And I think that his consistent message throughout his stay in Moscow was that America wants to push the red button, but not just for formality, he means it.
GIGOT: When the president talks about reset, what does he want? Do you think that he's trying to accomplish and how do the Kremlin leaders in particular define reset when we're talking about U.S.-Russian relations?
KASPAROV: Oh, we knew very well from this agenda, they wanted the so-called approval of Russian influence and (INAUDIBLE). They wanted America to cancel the missile defense in Europe. They want Americans to ignore problems with democracy in Russia. And before Obama's visit to Moscow, three Republican senators wrote a letter to him, urging him not to drop the missile defense system to defend Georgia and Ukraine, and to build relationships with Russia NGOs and political opposition. And he did it. And it was specific about Georgia and Ukraine, about territorial integrity of his country. As far as I can see, he didn't budge off of any important issue. And the Kremlin failed in trying to establish the same relations with Obama that they had with President Bush.
GIGOT: One of the goals that Obama shares with President Bush is to try to get some kind of Russian cooperation against Iran to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions. Do you think he made any progress with the Kremlin on that front?
KASPAROV: I guess Obama recognizes, learning from Bush mistakes, that it's a goal probably not within his reach, because Putin's interest is complete opposite of the Americans. Putin needs a nuclear Iran. Putin needs crisis. Because that's the only hope of Russian regime that the oil prices will go up again. So Obama made the statement in Moscow and he didn't want to tie it to anything else. So if you guys solve the uranium problem, and we can talk again about missile defense, which means to me that he has very little hopes, if any, that Russia will be helpful with Iran.
GIGOT: That's interesting. You said that Russia has an interest in high oil prices. And U.S. goal is to prevent further Russian diplomatic or military assaults into Georgia. They've been staging military operations there. Do you think the president will get any kind of cooperation from Putin on that?