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The U.S. secretary of state has said that while Russia
The U.S. secretary of state has said that while Russia has proved a valuable partner on certain issues over the past eight years, Washington is disappointed by the way the country has developed.

In a lengthy article published in the Foreign Affairs journal, covering various areas of American foreign policy, Condoleezza Rice singled out Russia and China as countries that have risen in power and influence, while failing to fulfill their growing responsibilities.

The article, entitled 'Rethinking the National Interest', said that under President George W. Bush, U.S. foreign policy has been governed by "uniquely American realism," and that relations with the rising powers of Russia and China "have been rooted more in common interests than common values."

Although Washington and Moscow have found common ground on key issues, "Russia's internal course has been a source of considerable disappointment, especially because in 2000 we hoped that it was moving closer to us in terms of values."

As 1999 ended, the ailing Boris Yeltsin handed over the reins of power in Russia to Vladimir Putin. The ex-KGB man went on to victory in presidential polls three months later. The next eight years saw Russia's reemergence as an economic and military power, following the turbulence of the 1990s. Some of the main criticisms leveled at Putin by Western governments during his time in office, which ended last month, were over the alleged stifling of democratic freedoms and human rights in the country, and Russia's increasing aggressiveness on the world stage.

"Our relationship with Russia has been sorely tested by Moscow's rhetoric, by its tendency to treat its neighbors as lost 'spheres of influence', and by its energy policies that have a distinct political tinge," Rice wrote.

On China, she said Washington has tried to show the country's leadership that with "full membership in the international community comes responsibilities," singling out Beijing's environmental policies, Tibet, support for the Sudanese government, and its role in Myanmar.

However, the top U.S. diplomat said Washington seeks to find "areas of cooperation and strategic agreement with Russia and China, even when there are significant differences."

She singled out as positive the three countries' joint efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program through the six-nation negotiations, also involving Japan and the two Koreas.

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