The U.S. and Russia will most likely return to pragmatic relations after years of an ideologically-driven foreign policy under President Obama. However, both countries will probably harden their stance towards the other, and dramatic breakthroughs are unlikely.
We will live in a highly competitive and increasingly unpredictable world. Russia should start economic growth and development in order not to fall behind the new technological revolution again. Economic weakness provokes external pressure.
The current elites lack Primakov’s ability to find a balance between national and international interests, see a better future, and choose the best way to achieve it. It is this ability that has placed Primakov among the brilliant representatives of realist thought.
It might be too early to sum up the international events of the outgoing year just yet, but everything that was meant to happen already has, and the principal consequences are evident.
The article discusses the results of Russian foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union against the background of major new global and regional international trends and the policy of other major world powers.
After experiencing many ups and downs in their relationship, China and Russia have forged a strategic partnership since the advent of the 21st century. While Russia's relations with the United States and the European Union have hit a rough patch, its ties with China are on an upward trend.
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.
After a long quest for a new mission, when NATO tested different roles from global world policemen and expeditionary super-unit to soft security provider and democracy promoter, the organization is back to its habitual business: to contain Russia. What a relief after years of wandering!
If there is a key lesson to be drawn from the history of international relations, it is that, in extremis, political and security considerations almost inevitably triumph over economic considerations. Nothing is less certain.
The era of bipolar confrontation ended a long time ago. But the unipolar moment of U.S. dominance that began in 1991 is gone, too. A new, multipolar world has brought more uncertainty into international affairs.
Cooperation between China and Russia in the Arctic does not envision military build-up in the region, rather it guarantees mutual benefits from neutralizing U.S. influence and reanimating Arctic economic activity, which slumped after the Ukrainian crisis.
In the American discourse concerning relations with Russia the realists’ calls for interaction with it run counter to the alarmists’ stubborn mantra that Russia’s attempts to question U.S. omnipotence should not be left without a harsh response.
U.S.-Russian relations begin to resemble the Cold War, as the U.S. institutes containment policies in preparation for a long-term showdown. The issue then becomes who can hold out longer to demonstrate the resolve necessary to get the other side to back down.
Neither Ukraine nor Syria has eased psychological tension so far. The United States and partly Russia do not think they have reached the dangerous point. Apparently they still need a bigger crisis to finally settle their issues.
Why no new world order has been built since the end of the Cold War
Industrial espionage is capable of making up—promptly and at a relatively low cost—for the shortage of some components critically important for developing a certain industry. But as soon as the state begins to use industrial espionage systematically, this “remedy” instantly turns into a killer drug.
Nearly a quarter of a century after US-led coalition forces relied extensively on information technology, hi-tech precision weapons and joined-up military doctrine to comprehensively defeat Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army in Operation Desert Storm, the concept, implications and legacy of the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs remains both contested and indistinct.
Those who argue that the rising power of the international public opinion is the strong argument against the preservation of the veto power are in fact wrong.
The crisis in relations between Russia and the West brings to mind the methods of risk management devised during the previous confrontation. The participants in a roundtable discussion held by the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy believe that a majority of problems can be resolved using a rational approach – through consultations.
Generally speaking, there are no grounds in Russian-U.S. relations for reviving the Cold War and going to the brink of mutual assured destruction. In the presence of common threats, geopolitical interests can adversely impact bilateral relations only to a certain extent. But the current tendencies do not give hope for their speedy improvement.
The emergence of the new Atlanticism represents a shift in the meaning of ‘the West’. The traditional pluralism and capaciousness of the concept is now narrowed into a transdemocratic combination of security and normative concerns.
Two important anniversaries celebrating major diplomatic accomplishments are marked in the summer and fall of 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Organization and the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. The former laid the foundation for the postwar world order; the latter formalized its core element – the European order.
Power politics is not “back” after having been away on some vacation. It has always been here. What is different today is that power plays are more visible because other countries are pushing back harder.
I have already written before that having emerged from the Cold War, Europe lost the post-war peace. The continent is on the verge of strategic degradation that may either become a caricature of military-political division into opposing blocs or a time of disquieting uncertainty. The military-political conflict over Ukraine can escalate as well.
Some observers have concluded that the recent Moscow visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland signals a warming in U.S.-Russian relations. However, not all communications between states have the goal of reaching agreement on something.
The last twenty-five years have largely been wasted. The world has become a more dangerous place, Europe is about to split up and become weaker or even slide into a large-scale war. Unless Europe works out a new ambitious and unifying idea, the Ukrainian crisis and its demons will continue spreading.
This report was prepared following the conclusions of XI annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting.
The new world order that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union is breaking down
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.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
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.