What went wrong in the past and how should the US change its policy in order to build fruitful cooperation with Russia? It is clear that everyone will benefit from this, since in today's difficult and dangerous times, America is better to be friends with Russia.
George Bush Sr.: 1989-1993
George Bush Sr. led the White House when Gorbachev's perestroika was already in the final stages in the USSR. Gorbachev was still showing commitment to Leninism, but the war in Afghanistan was coming to an end, the Soviet army was preparing for the withdrawal of troops from this region; The media was becoming freer; cooperatives appeared - the first business, the sprouts of a free market economy. And this is only a small part of what ultimately led to the collapse of the USSR.
In October 1988, I received an invitation from the USSR Academy of Sciences to visit Moscow to discuss the joint publication of the journal Quantum, for publishing translations of selected articles into English and original articles by Soviet and American scientists. The proposal was quite unexpected and came just a few months later, after the Izvestia newspaper called me and some other exiles agents of Western intelligence agencies who are trying to undermine the progress of Gorbachev's perestroika, presenting it as a treacherous KGB plan to deceive a gullible and naive West.
I must confess that I did not immediately decide on this trip. On the one hand, I, of course, wanted to return to Moscow for nostalgic reasons, but on the other, it was pretty scary. Perhaps some people know that I had a difficult relationship with the Soviet authorities because of the struggle for family reunification. Therefore, I did not rule out the option that the invitation is a trap, and as soon as I find myself on the territory of the USSR, the KGB agents will immediately seize me. Therefore, my wife Tatiana and I asked her father - a high-ranking Soviet general - to meet us, just in case, at the Sheremetyevo airport in full dress, with all the awards and orders, to rule out the possibility of my abduction.
However, our fears were unfounded, although negotiations on the magazine actually turned out to be just a pretext. They really took place and the English edition of Quantum was launched on a grant from the National Science Foundation. However, as it turned out, the main purpose of the invitation was different. At that time, the editor-in-chief of the journal was Academician Yuri Osipyan, later a member of the Presidential Council under Gorbachev. He introduced me to Alexander Yakovlev, the second person in the state, he was called the "right hand of Gorbachev", with whom we had an almost secret meeting at the October hotel, now it is the President Hotel.
Yakovlev, without losing a minute, immediately went to work. He asked what could be done to prove to the Americans that perestroika in the USSR was not “Potemkin villages”, but a serious internal political process that would turn the USSR into a free and democratic state.
I also bluntly told Yakovlev and Osipian that the reputation of the CPSU in the world is so repulsive that no one would believe that the party would give up its unlimited power and transform the dictatorial structure into a democratic one.
Nevertheless, I said that I can try to do this, but for this you need to bring a large group of American experts to Moscow, including those who are extremely negative towards the Soviet regime. They would participate in open debates with Soviet politicians, scientists, journalists, students, on any topic, without restrictions and censorship.
Much to my surprise, they agreed and in 1989 and 1990 I organized trips to the USSR for numerous American delegations. They were attended by many members of Congress, for example, Senators Phil Graham and Bob Casten, congressmen John Kyle and Henry Hyde; one of the main ideologists of the Republican Party, Paul Wyrick and his team from the Free Congress Foundation (Free Congress Foundation); the most famous Soviet dissidents are Vladimir Bukovsky, Vasily Aksenov, Alexander Zinoviev, Ernst Unknown; the head of Voice of America and Radio Liberty, Frank Shakespeare; businessmen, university rectors and many other prominent figures of the United States.
I note that we were given complete freedom of action and we gave media interviews without censorship, met and discussed the most acute problems with Soviet politicians, scientists, students, etc. In order to show the full range of freedoms granted to us, I asked Norman Podgorets, the editor-in-chief of the neo-conservative journal Commentary, to publicly name Lenin as one of the worst criminals of the 20th century. He did this without any consequences for him and for all of us, although officially the name of Lenin was still untouchable at that time.
We also met with Yeltsin and his team. They directly told us that communism and the USSR are on the brink of extinction, and that they hope that in the future free Russia will become an important part of the Western community, including its membership in NATO.
One of the memorable moments of those events was the next meeting in the hotel "October" in 1989 year. Then Alexander Yakovlev said that any Eastern European country wishing to withdraw from the Soviet bloc could do it freely.
I can not speak on behalf of all the American participants in these discussions, but personally I was convinced that communism would soon sink into oblivion, just like Ronald Reagan had predicted. It is impossible to enjoy such freedoms in a communist society. Absolutely impossible. Yeltsin and his inner circle told us about this.
After another trip to the USSR in 1990, Paul Wirik, who had direct access to US President George W. Bush, personally presented to him our report, which said that the USSR would soon cease to exist and that it was necessary to urgently prepare an integration plan for Russia and the West, a counterpart of the Marshall Plan, which successfully worked against Germany and Japan after World War II.
According to the story of Vayrik, Bush listened to him carefully, taking notes, until Condoleezza Rice, then Bush's national security adviser, entered the office. Rice sharply rejected all the provisions of the report, finding that Yeltsin was trying to fool us all and that according to her data, which are much more reliable than ours, the USSR does not threaten anything.
What happened next is known to all.
1 August 1991 Bush arrived on an official visit to Kiev, where he delivered a speech that became known as "Kievsky-cutlet speech" (Bush spoke out against the independence of Ukrainians, calling this aspiration "suicidal nationalism" - ed.). Then he said that "we stand for the preservation of relations with the Soviet state and with President Gorbachev." Less than five months after this speech, the USSR collapsed, but the United States was not ready for this and therefore did not know what to do next.
To summarize, Bush made a terrible mistake by missing the moment when it would be possible to integrate the new Russia into the Western community, turning it into its ally. A positive moment of his policy was Gorbachev’s promise not to expand NATO eastward and the idea of creating a new international security system from Vancouver to Vladivostok.
Assessment of the work of George W. Bush: three with a minus
Bill Clinton: 1993 - 2001
The work of his administration was marked by a pilgrimage of economic advisers to Moscow to help Yeltsin and his team turn the Russian planned economy into a market economy. The catastrophic results of these reforms are well known, but if someone thinks that I speak too sharply about the policy of Clinton, then it is worth reading a report compiled by members of the House of Representatives at the request of House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The title of the report “Russia's Way to Corruption; how the Clinton administration exported the bureaucracy instead of free enterprise and let the Russian people down” speaks for itself.
One of the key moments of Clinton’s policy toward Russia was a violation of Bush’s senior promise not to expand NATO. Leading American politician George Kennan, also known as the famous Mr. X, called this move a tragic mistake of the United States and the beginning of a new era of the Cold War.
I will quote from the interview of George Kennen to the newspaper The New York Times: “I think this is the beginning of a new cold war. The Russians, in my opinion, will react rather hostile with time, and this will be reflected in their policies. I think this a tragic mistake. There was no reason for that. No one threatens anyone anymore. The decision of the Senate will make the founding fathers of our country roll over in graves. We have pledged to protect a number of countries, despite the fact that we have neither the resources nor the intentions to do so. in any serious way. NATO was just a careless step by the Senate, with no real understanding of foreign policy. "
Clinton performance evaluation: deuce deuce
George W. Bush: 2001 - 2009
To begin with, after the events of 9 / 11, George W. Bush asked Vladimir Putin to help the United States and NATO in Afghanistan. Putin did everything that Bush requested, but he thanked Putin in the following way: the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty; provoked the so-called "color" revolution in the post-Soviet space; expanded the membership of NATO, promising membership even to Ukraine and Georgia; unfairly called Russia an “aggressor” in the 2008 armed conflict with Georgia, although he knew very well who first began active hostilities.
Bush's policy of promoting democracy has become an object of ridicule. Still remember the words of Bush Jr. before and after the invasion of Iraq, that he "wishes to promote the development of democracy, because democratic states do not start wars."
Assessment of the work of Bush Junior: a deuce with a minus
Barack Obama. 2009-2013's first presidential term of the year
Obama began a "reset" of relations between Russia and the United States, this is his personal achievement, since none of his predecessors tried to work in this direction. However, the results of the reboot can not be considered impressive.
A bilateral START III treaty on nuclear arms reduction was signed, despite the Republicans ’sharp opposition to the agreement.
Plans to install an anti-missile defense system (ABM) in the territories of the Czech Republic and Poland have been canceled, but elements of an improved missile defense system are still planned to be installed near the Russian border.
The US helped Russia join the WTO, although the Jackson-Vanik amendment is still a stumbling block. Many of you may know that me and my colleague Anthony Salvia, who worked in the Reagan administration, filed a lawsuit against US President Barack Obama, arguing that the president can repeal this amendment without waiting for the relevant Congress resolution. However, Obama's lawyers asked the court to dismiss our lawsuit, since there had been no such precedents before. Although we could not continue the court case due to the lack of sufficient funding, we are confident that we won morally because the court could not prove that Obama has no right to cancel this amendment. By the way, ironically, the Jackson-Vanik amendment is now working not against Russia, but against American business.
Washington’s official line on the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO remains unchanged. There is no progress in creating a joint missile defense system.
Assessment of the work of Obama’s first presidential term: a three-point minus
Barack Obama. Second Presidential Term 2013-2017 of the Year
The main and main task of Obama in international politics with Russia is missile defense. I think he should remind his advisers of the last NATO summit in Lisbon, when the provision was made on the need for a strategic partnership with Russia in this area. Unfortunately, no concrete steps have been taken in this direction since then, but, at least, both parties continue to negotiate.
Obama should also recall that he whispered in Medvedev's ear about the possibility of being more flexible in missile defense issues after the elections. This promise is not a betrayal of the national interests of the United States, as many opponents of the president are not tired of arguing. On the contrary, this is a step in the right direction, since such a policy is mutually beneficial for both parties. Except, of course, for those who would like the future missile defense system to be directed specifically against Russia and China, and for those who believe that America’s position as the world’s dominant leader is unshakable, despite reasonable objections from other countries .
It should be noted that Russia's position on the missile defense issue is by no means ideal. There are also a number of problems here, but if agreements are reached in this area, then we will be able to see significant progress in relations between Russia and the United States and in other areas. Especially if America follows the advice of its great president, Thomas Jefferson, who constantly repeated that "We do not want to interfere in the internal affairs of any countries ..."
With great pleasure I saw a similar statement in the speech of George W. Bush in Kiev, where he repeated these words: "Our former president (in this case, he quoted Theodore Roosevelt) said that we do not want to interfere in your internal affairs." Maybe I should raise Bush to the top three, removing the minus, right?