Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dead-End/Tupik

To continue from the first post of the day, in the second session Mark Medish (Carnegie Endowment, former Clinton Administration NSC director for Russia) opened his remarks by saying that twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we've come to a dead-end in our relationship with Russia. We need new ideas and a new framework--and this may require people on both sides to take steps "out of character". A comment from the floor raised the point that all three of the presidential campaigns are staffed by "old hands" on Russia policy--so can we expect this new approach to emerge or not?

Alexey Pushkov, host of Post Scriptum (a Moscow television news and discussion program) made an interesting observation. He said that the main pillars of the U.S. -Russia relationship are well-known--and people who know me know that I've gotten frustrated with the ritual repetition of these phrases: terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation, and international stability. He said the problem is that these are very vaguely-worded, general, abstract goals--and we've never really defined common means or points of agreement.

Do we need another "dramatic event" to shake up the thinking or get us to rethink the relationship?

"Do we need another "dramatic event" to shake up the thinking or get us to rethink the relationship?"

LOL, as if that would do it.

In 2000, Putin proposed joint US-Russian action against the Taliban. The US foreign policy elite was aghast at the very idea!

In 2001, Putin went against the entire Russian foreign policy elite and reached out to the US, offering significant aid and political support. The USG reciprocated by tearing up the ABM Treaty.

Frankly, if the destruction of the Twin Towers and Putin's immediate offer of aid did not change the unappeasable hostility of the US foreign policy elite towards Russia, nothing will.

And the Russians now understand this. That's why they look to Old Europe for their serious relationships. The know the USG won't do anything for them, and can't do anything to really hurt them. Our blind, sterile hostility to Russia has rendered us irrelevant.
"Do we need another 'dramatic event' to shake up the thinking or get us to rethink the relationship?"


In a different way then from what the question is perhaps suggesting.

For quality sake, the high profile wonk gatherings would benefit from having some other paid speakers involved (ahem).

Especially on topics like disputed former Communist bloc territories, CIS related issues and so called "Russophobia".

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