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.
Obama started dismantling America’s global obligations. Trump is likely to take that a step further.
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.
Recent overtures by top EU and German officials usher in hopes that relations between Moscow and the West could be on the verge of a turn for the better – but the real question is what direction Russia will take after sanctions are lifted and the tensions have abated.
With the latest protracted nosedive in U.S.-Russia relations, when areas of cooperation have continued to shrink, it is beneficial to reflect on historically constructive joint endeavors, such as the cooperation between the two countries’ nuclear weapon laboratories (“lab-to-lab cooperation”).
The hackneyed saying “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” is as relevant today as never before, but there is no stopping to the audacious flight of imagination. Popular as it is, extrapolation of current trends to future periods does not work as something always gets in the way, while attempts to draw a completely different picture look like imaginative writing. And still we have taken the risk.
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.
They agree on key points. And no one wants to see the region in chaos or run by the Islamic State.
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.
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.
Russia and the U.S. are deeply distrustful of one another right now. And yet both agree that the Islamic State is pure evil and that a united front is needed to combat it. Then why isn't one taking shape?
Theoretically, a convergence of Russia’s and the U.S.’s vital interests may pave the way to mending fences between the two countries, with joint counteraction to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda being the most evident opportunity to start such a rapprochement.
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.
Many in Russia believe that the EU sanctions appeared as a result of the Ukrainian conflict and pressure from Washington. But the reasons for the current deterioration in Russia’s relations with Europe are far more profound
Although the bipolar Cold-War-style mentality is still quite widespread among the rulers of Russian society, it is not a fundamental feature of their global viewpoint. Rather, Russia’s sense of being insulted and disappointed after it failed to join the “premier league” is behind this mindset.
Fettered by Western sanctions, major Russian companies are looking for new opportunities in East Asia, pinning most of their hopes on China. And yet, private businesses and top managers of state-run companies are talking about numerous problems and risks.
The Ukrainian crisis in a way resembles wars of late feudalism in Europe, with private armies formed of assorted mercenaries and retired military of most diverse ethnic, ideological and social affiliations.
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.
Today Russia is confronted by the West which is largely demoralized by its own blunders and no longer a source of moral supremacy and appeal for most people in the world. Sided with Moscow is the rising “non-West” that comprises the majority of countries and most dynamic economies.
While the U.S. continues to maintain that it is the world’s only superpower, Russia is at the forefront of a shift to a multipolar world and inclusive global governance
Even as tension in Ukraine mounts anew, veteran diplomats are starting to think quietly about a way out of the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War
The speech that Vladimir Putin gave at the end of last week at the Valdai Club was judged to be very harsh by most commentators
It is essential that Russia avoid unilateral involvement in Afghan affairs, which otherwise would have adverse consequences for Russia’s national interests both regionally and internationally. And this is the scenario the U.S. is likely to try to push forward given current tense U.S.-Russia relations.
For the United States, at stake is its leader’s declining reputation and the risk of yet another humiliating defeat. The stakes are high also because Russia stands as a symbol of a rising and increasingly anti-Western “non-West.”
The world needs a coalition of sound forces advocating stability – a global anti-war coalition with a positive plan for rearranging the international financial and economic architecture on the principles of mutual benefit, fairness, and respect for national sovereignty.
Islamic State fighters have plenty of reason to hate Putin in light of Russia supplying their foe Syrian President Bashar Assad with weapons throughout that country's conflict, and it would be a mistake to assume their video warning is an empty threat.
Turning points in history are rarely recognized as such by contemporaries. Even while following the news and sensing that something has gone wrong, people go about their lives in the usual way.
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.