Dmitry Suslov is Director of the Valdai Club program “Globalization and Regionalization: General State of the World Economy and Global Governance.” He is also Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the National Research University—Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.
U.S. foreign policy is entering an era of change—the most significant since the Truman administration. The cause of such changes lies in the discrepancy between the U.S. foreign policy consensus reached at that time and forged in the 1990s, and the current (and, most likely, future) global trends. The departure from the current consensus is inevitable. It is just a matter of time.
It is unlikely that the current impasse in Russia-EU relations will be resolved within the next few years. It appeared long before the Ukrainian crisis. It is so deeply rooted that it will persist even if the con?ict in Donbass deescalates and the Minsk agreements are fully implemented. Both sides advocate fundamentally incompatible models for Russia-EU relations and for the economic and political order that should prevail in both “Wider Europe” and Eurasia.
In 2015, the global context fever continued. It was characterised by non-linearity and unpredictability with opposite processes going on simultaneously and relationship between countries becoming increasingly tangled and complex.
The Russian-U.S. confrontation is amplifying an even larger trend in global development – the danger of the world’s division into the “Greater West” and the “Eurasian non-West.” There is the impression that the geography of the division resembles the dividing line between “continental” and “island” countries in classical geopolitics.
Rethinking the nuclear arms policy implies making it independent – that is, relieving it of the task of maintaining parity with the United States and subordinating it to the interests of the military security and international political influence of Russia. Russia’s military security can be effectively and reliably ensured by a much smaller arsenal of strategic nuclear forces than it has now, even considering the possible need to overcome the U.S. missile defense system in the future.
It would make sense for Moscow to offer its own package of ideas to Washington regarding the improvement of relations, and this package should be bigger than the one proposed by President Obama. The two countries must take a course towards a “big deal” based on the analysis of vital interests of the sides and their priority ranking. The parties should pledge respect for each other’s interests in the areas where these interests are truly vital, while making concessions on secondary issues.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.