Will secretary Clinton help or hinder travel to Russia?

Travelers around the world are waiting for the day when the borders to Russia open wider to visitors. Although the formerly Communist country does and will accept tourists, the application process is long and expensive — you don’t just wander up to the border to Russia, get your passport stamped and mosey down to Red Square, no, before visitors to the Red State are even allowed to apply for a visa they need to be sponsored, a process that isn’t difficult but one that takes time, money and most of all, patience.

Now that the Obama administration has the reigns, however, many have high hopes for better relations between the United States and some of her formerly cold neighbors. Cuba, for example, has recently been hinting at welcoming American citizens back into the island nation and kick starting its economy.

Such is the message that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking with her as she circles the globe: Give us some time and space to figure things out and rebuild bridges — we’re not here to fight.

Or at least that’s what she thought she was saying to Sergi Lavrov, Russia’s Secretary of State and a prominent official with whom she met last week. In an attempt to get relations started off on the right foot, Mrs. Clinton presented Lavrov with a gag “reset button” that was meant to symbolize the resetting of relations between the former Cold War foes.

On the bottom was written RESET, in English, while the top said PEREGRUZKA, in Russian. Which does not mean “reset.” It means “OVERLOAD.”

Thankfully, Mr. Lavrov took the gaff in stride and the meeting still went well. And with any luck, relations between the east and west will soon become even warmer, making we American tourists one step closer to easy weekend caviar and vodka trips to Moscow.