Monday, February 13, 2006
First Thoughts on the U.S.-Russia Dialogue
One of the things that is very apparent is the high degree of mistrust between both sides as to the other's motives, goals and intentions. From the American side, concern about Russia's intentions in the "former Soviet space" or "Russia's neighborhood" and its stewardship of its energy resources (a point much discussed at the G-8 Finance Ministers' meeting which overlapped with our sessions). From the Russian side, deep suspicion about whether America is really committed to democracy or simply expanding its influence, not only in Eurasia but around the world (and holding the forthcoming Ukrainian elections as a test case, if, as expected, former Prime Minister Yanukovych and his allies win a majority of seats in the Rada and take over the government). Another is about whether the U.S. is prepared to see its policies through in the Greater Middle East--one Russian participant said the U.S. is in the process of creating a belt of failed states from Turkey to India which will directly and negatively impact on Russian national security.