A year and a half after Barack Obama hit the "reset" button with Russia, the reconciliation is still fragile, incomplete, and politically divisive. Sure, Russia is no easy ally for the United States. Authoritarian yet insecure, economically mighty yet technologically backward, the country has proven a challenge for U.S. presidents since the end of the Cold War. Recent news hasn't helped: The arrest in July of a former deputy prime minister and leader of the Solidarity opposition movement, Boris Nemtsov, provoked some of the harshest criticism of Russia yet from the Obama administration. Then last Wednesday, Russia announced that it had moved anti-aircraft missiles into Abkhazia, the region that broke off from Georgia during the August 2008 war. The announcement was hardly welcome news for the United States, which has tried to diffuse tensions there for the last 24 months.
Yet however challenging this partnership may be, Washington can't afford not to work with Moscow. Ronald Reagan popularized the phrase, "Trust, but verify" -- a good guiding principle for Cold War arms negotiators, and still apt for today. Engagement is the only way forward. Here are 10 reasons why: