Obama once touted improved US ties with Russia as a major achievement. But the contentious wrangle over Syria at the UN is threatening to undo the 'reset.'
Russia and China's vetoes of a UN resolution against Syria's regime illustrate a stark divide on the role the international community should play in the Arab Spring.
The UN Security Council vote could come as early as Tuesday afternoon. The US and European powers support the 'better than nothing' resolution, which contains only the threat of sanctions against Syria.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to bolster America's largely symbolic sanctions. But while Syrian allies such as Russia have lobbied hard for reforms, few appear eager to apply sanctions.
Russian President Medvedev made few new concessions in response to the canceling of Russia's Eastern European missile-shield plan. But new ways to cooperate on threats like Iran's nuclear program and instability in Afghanistan are emerging.
With Bush set to leave, the administration tries to nudge forward the process it started in 2007.
After running the tiny state for eight years, UN workers here are awaiting orders from headquarters.
President Bush hailed the controversial move, as the EU and UN met to form their responses.