Monday, April 28, 2008
Last Thoughts: U.S.-Russia Relations
Is Russia fundamentally a revisionist or status quo power? (And, from the luncheon discussion, when does revisionism become revanchism?)
Are Russia's goals for the reconstruction of its power fundamentally at odds with key U.S. interests--meaning that the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship may depend a lot less on personalities (or have less room for good personal relations between leaders from being able to insulate the relationship from these developments).
Just some final thoughts.
It didn't have to be this way, of course. If US policy towards Russia had been something other than "Okay, here's what you've got to do next, here's some more sh*t for your face.", we would be in a different position. The Russian government would now see benefits to maintaining good relations with the US, rather than unremitting costs, and so the USG would have some leverage with the Russian government.
But now, since the Russian government understands that the USG will never go anything to help Russia, and cannot realistically harm Russia much, the USG simply have no leverage with the Russian government.
Russian revisionism will succeed, due to the simple fact that the West needs Russia far more than Russia needs the West. It didn't have to be this way, but that's how it is.
Let's face it, at the beginning of 1990s, in places like Baltia and Ukraine, America placed its bets on people emotionally and even personally closely related to Nazis. Regimes that emerged as a result will not be acceptable for Russians. It is in everybody's interest to ensure their peaceful transformation until things turn chaotic.
Resurgence or revanchism? You make the call.