As President Bush prepared for talks Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, former U.S. national security adviser Brent Scowcroft (search) faulted Bush for not paying enough attention to relations with Moscow.
"U.S. policy in the last few years has not reflected the importance of the relationship," said Scowcroft, who also was critical of the president's Iraq and Mideast policies.
Speaking Tuesday at the Nixon Center (search), a private think tank, Scowcroft said the United States and Russia remain the world's two great nuclear powers even though things have changed dramatically since the United States concentrated on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Scowcroft, who was national security adviser for Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush (search), said Russia's decision to supply nuclear technology to Iran is a reason to pay attention.
Russia also is in the very center of a great arc where U.S. security interests are concentrated, including North Korea, he said.
But the Bush administration became absorbed in fighting terrorism after the 9/11 attacks and then on Iraq, Scowcroft said.
Now the relationship with Russia slipped, he said, and the countries have abandoned a high-level U.S.-Russian commission formerly headed by Al Gore that the Clinton administration used to discuss disputes with Moscow.