Monday, April 28, 2008
A Post-American Country?
As I had written in 2005 and 2006:
The problem, of course, is that for the past five years or so Russia has not been America's "to lose." In many ways, Russia is a "post-American" country. It still has an important relationship with the United States, and there are still several "global" issues where Moscow and Washington continue to interrelate (mainly nuclear). But in terms of many of the day-to-day things that underwrite any bilateral relationship--trade, people-to-people exchanges, and so on--the Russia-Europe and specifically the Russia-Germany relationship is much more important.
What motivates Russia to seek closer security ties to Europe? Does Russia feel a long-term need for western allies, or is it simply trying to stabilize the status quo along its western border? Will closer economic ties between Russia and the EU benefit the other Shanghai group states?
The sense is that Europe is where Russia's security and economic interests lie and that in turn Russia "mediates" Europe to its south and east.
Absolutely. The Russian government understand that the price for the USG suspending their hostility to Russia is Russia submitting to US dominance without a complaint and adopting policies the USG demand without regard for the interests, or even existence, of the Russian people. Having experienced the awful consequences of this under Yeltsin, the Russian government no longer cares what Washington thinks of them. The simple fact is, there is nothing the USG can realistically do to Russia that is as bad as what happened when Russia foolishly sought US friendship.
The "Old Europe" governments are a different case entirely. They are open to mutually beneficial relations with Russia in a way the USG simply is not.