Even during the first visit of the American president to Moscow, it was noticeable how unpleasant Putin and Obama were to each other. It just caught the eye, and subsequent events confirmed the mutual dislike of the two politicians. Of course, yet another deterioration in Russian-American relations coincided in some way with the general rejection of V. Putin’s third-person political stunt with a third term and an increase in antagonism between Putin’s course and the West’s position, but there were some peculiarities.
And this is not only the “war of lists” - “the Magnitsky list” and “the law of Dima Yakovlev”. Unsuccessful statements and actions of the US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, as well as frankly anti-Russian statements by politicians such as Mit Romney, John McCain and a considerable number of senators and congressmen contributed to the deterioration of relations. A huge contribution was made by the case of Edward Snowden, in which Moscow behaved extremely ambiguous. Instead of honestly informing the Americans about their plans for the dissident, the Russian side dragged up to the last comedy with Snowden's “seat” at Sheremetyevo, forcing the American president to “lose face”. For his part, Obama, explaining his rejection of the bilateral meeting at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in a television program, went far beyond political correctness, letting go of jokes about the Russian counterpart.
And so on. The list of international problems on which Washington and Moscow come into contact (that is, they have mutual interest or mutual contradictions) is extremely small and includes issues of strategic security (deployment of missile defense and reduction of nuclear weapons) and regional security (Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, North Korea). After the “reset” was completed, a new agenda for Russian-American relations was not worked out. As a result, discrepancies and recriminations came to the fore. Opponents of improving relations intensified in both countries.
Reboot the opposite
US Vice President Joseph Biden was the first to use the word “reset” when speaking at the Munich Security Conference in February 2009 of the year shortly after Obama’s inauguration. Then Biden said that the new administration intends to get away from the confrontation with Moscow, which took place during the reign of the Republicans, and look for points of rapprochement. The architect was Stanford University political scientist Michael McFaul who advised Obama on Russia during the election campaign, and after the victory he was appointed director for Russia on the US National Security Council, and when Obama’s second term began, he was ambassador to Moscow.
Despite some rough edges, the “reset” immediately gained a good pace. By the end of 2009, Obama traveled to Moscow and announced that he was refusing to deploy missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia, in exchange, agreed to support the sanctions against Iran, and also gave permission for the transit through its territory of NATO military supplies for the needs of the operation in Afghanistan. And in 2010, the parties made a major breakthrough - they signed a new treaty on the limitation of strategic offensive arms (START). It is with this document that Barack Obama could retroactively justify receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
An important part of the "reset" was cooperation in the economic sphere. The pinnacle of the process was Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), to which Obama contributed a lot. And in 2011, it was the American president who played in this process almost the key role.
One can trace how the negative accumulated in the bilateral relations of the two powers. The situation in relations between the Russian Federation and the United States began to heat up shortly before the start of the election campaign in Russia. Moscow announced that it had one significant complaint left to Washington - the missile defense issue. The White House announced a modification of its approach to this problem, abandoned the radar project in the Czech Republic and the base for interceptor missiles in Poland, but retained plans to deploy an anti-missile system. The whole 2011 year, Russia tried to offer the United States various alternatives, however, a compromise could not be achieved. Then D. Medvedev made a tough statement that if a missile defense treaty could not be reached, Moscow would use tough retaliatory measures, up to and including the withdrawal from the START and the deployment of missiles in Kaliningrad.
By adopting the “Magnitsky law” in December 2012, the US Congress actually created insurmountable obstacles to the “reset” of relations with Russia. After the State Duma elections and rallies on Bolotnaya Square, V. Putin said that the Russian opposition could receive a signal for street actions from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The new Ambassador McFaul, who soon arrived in Moscow, whom Obama sent to develop a "reset", was subjected to a tough information attack in the state media for meeting with representatives of the "non-systemic opposition."
Shortly after Putin’s election as president, another incident occurred in relations between Moscow and the United States. The "new" president of the Russian Federation suddenly refused to go to the B-8 summit in Camp David, citing the need for his presence in Moscow because of the formation of the government. Meanwhile, Barack Obama specifically for the sake of Putin moved the summit there. It was originally planned that the G8 leaders will meet in Chicago, and then there will be a NATO summit. The Russian leader was called to a meeting with NATO, but he refused to go. To be fair, it should be noted that the first “bounce race” was not started by Putin, but, on the contrary, by Barack Obama, who informed the Russian side at the beginning of the year that he would not be able to come to Vladivostok for the APEC summit (because of the Democratic Party convention).
In 2012, the Russian authorities in every way demonstrated a desire to continue “resetting” relations with the United States after Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin, because they feared that the Republican candidate would be even worse if the Republican candidate won. Barack Obama himself, in the event of re-election, clearly intended to breathe new life into the “reset”. So, at the nuclear summit in Seoul last March, he last met with Dmitry Medvedev, who was serving the presidential term and promised to be “more flexible” on missile defense (PRO) issues in the event of his re-election.
At the start of 2013, the United States is taking the first attempt after Barack Obama’s re-election to break the stalemate with Russia. Shortly after his re-election in the November elections, Barack Obama began to prepare the ground for Operation Reset-2. In late January, the US president was to send his emissary, national security adviser Tom Donilon to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The meaning of the mission is to state Washington’s vision of relations with Moscow during Obama’s second presidential term and convince the Kremlin that the “reset” is not buried. In this document, Obama was going to convey that Washington does not intend to impede the strengthening of Russia's influence in the post-Soviet space and wants to look for points of rapprochement. First of all, Washington would like to agree with Moscow on the problem of Syria and Iran.
But at the same time, there were several reasons for not cherishing the “reset” too much. First, over the previous years, the parties agreed on everything that could be negotiated relatively painlessly. The START Treaty and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Sphere of Peaceful Atomic Sphere have been signed. Transit to Afghanistan is working (due to the withdrawal of American troops in two years, this problem will generally lose relevance).
Secondly, Russia in its current state is an increasingly less important country for Washington in an environment where the focus of US foreign policy is shifting toward Asia. Thirdly, now it is more important than ever for Barack Obama to be able to negotiate with the Congress, whose republics control the lower chamber. The main problem for the president is to reach a compromise on issues of the maximum level of public debt. Finally, in previous years, Russia and the United States could not bring trade to the level that bilateral economic dependence would keep the two sides from conflicts.
Russia also has its own reasons for burying the “reset”. In Moscow, improvements in relations with the United States in recent years have always considered a kind of package deal and were ready to negotiate on issues such as Iran, Syria, and the DPRK. However, the adoption of the "Magnitsky law" confused all the cards. For the Kremlin, this law is a sign of disrespect and unwillingness to engage in dialogue (although Obama clearly could not prevent the adoption of this law). In response, Moscow expanded the black list of banned entry US citizens from 11 to 71, consisting of two lists.
The first, formed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in the fall of 2012, included 11 of US officials involved in human rights violations and torture at Guantanamo base and in secret CIA prisons in Europe. The additional list includes 60 people: these are American officials and security officials involved in criminal prosecution and conviction for long periods of Russian citizens (V. Bout and K. Yaroshenko). In addition, American parents responsible for the abuse and death of the Russian orphans adopted by them, as well as the judges who issued inadequate, according to Moscow, verdicts on cases of this kind. And thirdly, congressmen are the authors of the “Magnitsky Law” and representatives of public organizations who lobbied for it.
To the war of the lists added other injections smaller. OJSC Severstal decided to open high-tech production in Detroit and was promised loan guarantees from the US Department of Energy. But under the political pressure of some American lawmakers, these guarantees were withdrawn. The new aggravation began in connection with the unjust, according to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the decision of the American court on the "J. Schneerson collection." According to Lavrov, it was “an outrageous decision that has nothing to do with justice. The collection, which is the property of the Russian people, is considered as the property of the American Hasidic community, which more than ten years ago received several books from this library for temporary use, for several months, and so far they have not been returned. ”
Further, Russia terminated the agreement with the United States on cooperation in the fight against drugs, human trafficking, corruption and terrorism signed in 2002. For its part, the United States announced its withdrawal from the group for the development of civil society, which was part of the Russian-American presidential commission. Loud statements by former Secretary of State H. Clinton, who saw in the creation and attempts to expand the Customs Union, sought to restore the USSR, which the Kremlin regarded as the official position of the White House, were an irritant.
Russia keeps hitting
As we see, there is a desire of Russia to “take a punch” and maintain parity in relations. Thus, here we are approaching the very core of Russian-American relations (more precisely, contradictions). She forces to put the question: in general, Washington considers Russia (as well as any other state on the planet) an equal partner? The answer suggests itself.
It seems that the main reason for the current aggravation is the specificity of the approaches of Moscow and Washington to bilateral relations. First of all, Russia did not quite correctly perceive the meaning of the “reset” policy. By itself, the "reset" did not imply the building of partnerships, and in some areas of strategic contacts between Moscow and Washington. Its real task (for the American side) is to erase from the “operational memory” of Russian-American relations the negative experience accumulated during the administration of George W. Bush. And in this regard, the "reset" is really complete (the question is how successful).
For us in Central Asia, from the “reset” legacy, it’s important that the United States recognized Russia's special interests in almost the entire post-Soviet space, lowered (but only to congressional elections at the end of 2012) the degree of criticism of human rights Russia, in general, reduced the level of support for anti-Russian demarches of Eastern European politicians. And what is interesting, they were not particularly outraged at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) banning work in Russia.
Experts note that, if desired, and a sufficient level of mutual trust, it would be possible to designate new directions for strategic cooperation between Moscow and Washington as long-term ones. In particular, this could be the formation of common approaches to relations with China and the creation of a certain system of collective security in East Asia, an element of which could be the solution of the North Korean nuclear problem. However, at least a minimum trust between the parties is needed, which is clearly not observed.
In fact, it was the American side that provoked the restoration of the previous confrontational model of Russian-American relations in 2012. And it did it out of conjuncture considerations - the presidential election. As observers assure, Obama did not intend to jeopardize the achievements of the “reset” and spoil relations with Russia; he simply acted in the logic of the election campaign. Any manifestation of weakness in relation to Russia would have hurt his pre-election rating, and therefore Barack Obama directly asked Dmitry Medvedev to be patient and wait for the end of the election when the hands of the American president will be untied again.
The Republicans also benefited from the adoption of such a law, because in this way they devalued the main foreign policy achievement of Obama’s first term - normalization of relations with Russia. In this situation, the sharp reaction of Russia played into the hands of the Republicans, who were able to position Moscow as a hostile force.
Today it is already obvious, no matter how the bilateral relations developed in the next few years, the significance of Russia in foreign policy calculations for the second administration of Barack Obama will be significantly lower than it was in the time of the first. So, the US foreign policy priorities are changing: Afghanistan, where cooperation with Russia was one of the key factors, will fade into the background. But in other areas (Iran, the Middle East, the DPRK and Northeast Asia as a whole), Russia's resource of influence is not so great. The statement by Hillary Clinton that the US authorities intend to prevent the creation of a new version of the Soviet Union under the guise of economic integration within the framework of the Customs or Eurasian Union could be regarded as an open declaration of confrontation.
The February Munich Security Conference, at which Putin and Medvedev refused to speak, but US Vice President D. Biden spoke, showed both a general decline in strategic interest in Russia and a decrease in the importance of the Russian factor for the United States foreign policy. For a long time, one of the most important arguments about the need for a dialogue with Russia was the situation in the Middle East, above all around Afghanistan and Iran. However, this year has shown that here too the rest of the world needs Russia less and less.
In the foreseeable future, Russia will not succeed in changing the course of America towards controlling the “strategic assumption”, from which, in the opinion of the Americans themselves, threats to the United States may emerge and as which they consider virtually the whole world. The US is now preparing some kind of agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Within its framework, Pakistan will monitor the situation in the neighboring country, which should be a guarantee that the reorientation of Washington’s attention to other regions will not create obvious threats for the United States, and that the United States will be able to control this region. But be that as it may, Russia is forced to prepare for the possible consequences of this withdrawal. The formation of the CSTO intelligence is largely connected with this factor.
Search for a compromise
In his message on the country's situation at the beginning of the year, Obama announced that he intends to enter into negotiations with Russia on further reduction of nuclear arsenals. Key players in the Obama Second Administration - Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also advocate an agreement with Moscow.
Nevertheless, Washington continued to grope the ground for compromise on an important problem for itself - nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. In February of this year, Deputy Secretary of State Rose Gottemeller visited Moscow. She conveyed the idea that the White House considers: the Russian Federation and the United States, without compromising security, can abandon half of the warheads. If Moscow refuses to consider this idea, the White House can enlist the support of two-thirds of the senators and begin cuts unilaterally. In Moscow, Washington’s proposal was skeptical. Before talking about the further reduction of arsenals, Moscow considers it necessary to fulfill the requirements of the START Treaty.
Washington believes that under these conditions, an arsenal of 1 – 1,1 thousand warheads is sufficient to ensure nuclear deterrence. However, the START Treaty, which has recently entered into force, allows Russia and the United States to retain much more impressive stocks of nuclear weapons in their arsenals. Also in the contract is not limited to the number of medium and short-range charges and warheads stored. According to FAS, there are 2,7 thousand units of such weapons in service with the United States. Russia has about the same number - 2,68 thousand. Such an amount in the Pentagon is considered excessive. According to estimates of the US military, as a result of the planned reduction of the American nuclear arsenal can be almost halved - to 2,5 thousand charges. This will lead to significant savings in military spending.
In March of this year, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel announced that the United States was refusing to implement the fourth, key stage in the deployment of the European missile defense system. Since it was precisely this phase that caused the main objections of Russia, many people regarded the decision of the United States as a breakthrough in Russian-American relations. The bottom line was that the United States no longer plans to deploy upgraded SM2020 Block IIB interceptor missiles in Poland by the 3 year, but intend to focus on protecting their territory. The main reason for this decision was the allegedly growing threat of a missile attack on the United States by Iran, and especially North Korea. Washington’s response was designed to demonstrate that the Pentagon is capable of protecting the US and American allies from the North Korean threat.
In Washington, they insist: the rejection of the fourth phase of the creation of a European missile defense system is caused by the above considerations and is not a concession to the Kremlin. However, it was the fourth stage of the deployment of the European missile defense system from the very beginning that caused the main objections of Russia. Moscow has warned more than once: the deployment of modernized high-speed American interceptors near the borders of the Russian Federation, capable of shooting down intercontinental ballistic missiles, is a threat to Russian strategic forces. The statement of the head of the Pentagon, it would seem, eliminated a key irritant for Moscow. Therefore, many have regarded the decision of the United States as an opportunity for a breakthrough for Russian-American relations. But the US plans have caused new concerns for Moscow. They considered the placement of an additional number of heavy interceptor missiles in Alaska and in California a direct threat to the ability of the Russian Federation to retaliate.
But you can look at this problem from the other side. The decision of the Barack Obama administration should be viewed in the context of the rivalry between the United States and China unfolding in the APR. A year ago, the Pentagon announced the shift of the center of gravity of American military policy to this region. The buildup of the US missile defense system in the Pacific under the pretext of protection against the North Korean threat demonstrates the US intention to neutralize China’s nuclear and missile forces, the modernization of which is of increasing concern in Washington.
That is, the Obama administration has demonstrated that it does not intend to aggravate relations with Russia and is ready to a certain extent to a compromise. Over the next decade, the US strategic missile defense system is unlikely to exceed the level of one hundred interceptors that once established the ABM Treaty. But it is still too early to say that the problem has been solved. The fact is that Washington intends to carry out the second and third stages of an adaptive approach to the deployment of missile defense in Europe, including deployment in Romania and Poland in the third stage.
Thus, a somewhat paradoxical situation arises: while the United States is making efforts to protect against potential threats from rogue states, Russia, which is geographically located closer to them, is one of the main critics of these measures. Apparently, Russia would like to play the role of mediator in this situation, but for this it lacks international influence and foreign policy resources. As a result, Russia finds itself in a controversial position: it has to either continue to oppose the United States - tough enough to draw attention to its arguments, but unable to effectively prevent the implementation of existing plans, or to fundamentally change its position on this issue.
The visit of T. Donilon did take place, but only in April 2013. The main task of the American emissary was to convey to Vladimir Putin the personal message of Barack Obama, in which the US president’s vision of Russian-American relations for the coming years was set out (presumably in a positive way). But paradoxically, at the same time, it became known that the United States was embarking on the modernization of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW), including those stationed in Europe. Thus, the Obama administration tried to put pressure on Moscow, which for a long time did not agree to negotiations on TNW, demanding a preliminary withdrawal of American nuclear forces from Europe. Washington made it clear that he would not go for it.
Then the exchange of letters continued: Putin, in turn, sent a response letter to his American colleague, which was handed over by the head of the Russian Security Council N. Patrushev. It contained Moscow’s response to Washington’s proposals. Putin raised the question of real and concrete cooperation in the sphere of economics and politics, including issues of strategic stability, terrorism, missile defense and Syria.
Observers explain the reason for the White House’s turn in April as follows: Obama has his own general goal - to achieve global disarmament (global zero), that is, to sign a universal treaty on nuclear weapons. But it is still unknown whether China, India, and the DPRK will agree to join this process. So far, the only way to get things off the ground is progress in this issue between Russia and the United States.
In May, during the visit of Secretary of State D. Kerry to Moscow, the impression was created that the United States and Russia could find a compromise on the problem of Syria: an agreement was reached on the expediency of convening an international conference on Syria. But later, in June, the American side (under the pressure of European allies) disavowed its promise. This was demonstrated by the B-8 summit, which revealed diametrically opposed views on the conflict in Syria. Western commentators agreed that it was a victory for Vladimir Putin. There was no condemnation of Bashar Assad, the proposal to create no-fly zones in Syria was rejected; Russia declared that it would continue to support and supply weapons to Damascus.
At the same time, it was a Pyrrhic victory: the Syrian question finally severed Russia from the rest of the B-8 participants, making it not a partner in a friendly club, but a force openly opposing it. As some observers have noted, having sided with Assad, Putin continues the traditional Russian policy of restricting Anglo-American influence in the Middle East, protecting Moscow’s old allies, and complicating the lives of their opponents.
At the end of June, the “Snowden case” began to unfold, the true essence of which and the role in which Russia has not been completely clarified. But it again provoked the anti-Russian lobby in Washington. The efforts of this lobby were directed in at least two ways: the disruption of the Obama and Putin summit in September and the boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. Judging by the American press and congressional debates, it is Russia that occupies more space and time there than any other country, including China. Every day, one or even two or three articles about Russia appear in the leading American newspapers, mostly with devastating criticism of the Putin regime. That is, we are dealing with a regular campaign to demonize Russia.
The impression was created that some US senators and congressmen had no more important problems on their agenda than the search for the most severe punishment options for Russia. The country's real problems, such as growing to astronomical proportions (17 trillion dollars), public debt, unemployment, the bankruptcy of the main city of the Detroit car industry, racial unrest, and also a scandal with wiretaps, not to mention the formation of a giant instability region in the Middle East, like would be sidelined by comparison with human rights in Russia and its position on Syria and Snowden.
Some observers believe that the US should be grateful to the Kremlin for holding their hands on the Syrian issue and not allowing Washington to make even more irreparable mistakes throughout the Greater Middle East. Barack Obama's proposals for further radical reductions of nuclear weapons - with the development of high-precision non-nuclear strategic weapons, missile defense, the concept of "Sudden Global Impact" - an opportunity to point out Moscow’s incompetence.
With Edward Snowden история in general, it looks paradoxical: the United States did everything possible to ensure that he was not at home. For some reason, Washington warmed up a general interest to the fugitive with a series of humiliating requests and demands on Moscow. Russia did everything to smooth out the conflict around Edward Snowden as much as possible. Putin (at least publicly) forced the American defector to stop publishing documents exposing the United States, Russian diplomats extremely correctly, logically and legally correctly answered the absolutely illegal demands of the State Department and the White House to extradite Snowden. At the same time, it was obvious to all parties that Americans would not get Snowden. After Russia actually accepted the rogue state, the United States was indeed in a degrading position in front of the whole world. And Obama had to look for at least some answer, and he was found in the rejection of a bilateral meeting with Putin.
The only mistake was, according to some Russian political scientists and diplomats, too early issuance of political asylum to Snowden; The Kremlin could well suffer before the end of the summit. Putin’s aide, Yury Ushakov, was absolutely right when he said that in a situation with Snowden the Americans should only blame themselves: Moscow has long offered Washington to ratify a bilateral agreement on the extradition of criminals, but was refused. But from the actual point of view, Vladimir Putin has very little to lose. To date, there are no items on the agenda of bilateral relations on which the leaders of the two countries need to meet in person.
Other experts see the main problem of the deterioration of relations in the “Snowden case”. The “reset” is over, and at the G8 summit Putin and Obama agreed to start developing a new agenda in trade and economic ties, solving military-strategic issues and regional conflicts. But the case of the ex-employee of the American special services disrupted the bilateral meeting of the presidents of Russia and the United States in Moscow. If Snowden had left Russia, then the situation could have resolved, despite other serious problems and disagreements. Snowden did not act on behalf of Obama or Putin. But Russia took the responsibility of accepting it from itself, in which there was no political necessity. Therefore, it is strange that Obama’s statement about the need to “take a pause” in relations with Russia, made during the visit of foreign ministers and defense ministers to Washington, was an unpleasant surprise for Moscow.
Most likely, such an impression arose because of the deliberate demonstrativeness of the gesture that followed when the motorcade of the delegation of the Russian Federation was already rushing to Andrews air base for departure to Moscow. After the announcement of a “strategic pause”, Obama expressed surprise that in photographs from meetings with the US president his Russian counterpart often looks like a “bored student from the back row”. That is, Obama turned to the individual, which is absolutely unacceptable in international diplomacy.
Summarizing, we can note one more circumstance. In the collective policy of the West, there is a shortage of a character uniting all countries, which in the dramaturgy is called a “villain”. The existing "villains" (DPRK or Iran) are too small and have a regional scale. Another claimant to the role of the "scoundrel" - international terrorism - is too ephemeral to make a tangible common threat out of it. The return to the policy of the “empire of evil” concept can be quite a real result, that is, the role of the “villain” as a result can again fall to Russia.
What is left over
Thus, many factors, both traditional (influenced by the anti-Russian lobby) and completely unexpected (the case of Snowden), work on the deterioration of Russian-American relations.
“Magnitsky Law”, which can be attributed to the first group, is remarkable by the fact that whatever the motives behind its adoption, the United States Congress, without formally going beyond the national jurisdiction, put pressure on the representatives of the Russian government using economic (assets freeze) and image (the image of total kleptocracy) tools. A twofold result was obtained. On the one hand, a reminder that the United States remains an attractive country for the ruling classes of other states. On the other hand, it confirms America’s right to set a legal and moral standard for the whole world.
But there is another delicate moment. According to V. Kremenyuk (ISKRAN), the current Russian elite, who has tremendously grown rich in the utilization of the Soviet legacy, craves for legitimacy - internal and external. The problem of the legitimacy of the current top of Russia is serious and deep. It is not enough for the ruling class to establish its power simply to have enormous wealth and the opportunity to use what the West can provide in exchange for this wealth. Without recognizing the legitimacy of the existing government, it is difficult for it to rely on corporate relations, which arise as a result of the common interests and tasks facing the ruling circles of the whole world. They all need order and calm, predictability and confidence in the future.
Apparently, it is in this sphere that one must see a true understanding of the subtext of the entire crisis around the “Magnitsky law”. American lawmakers painfully poked into the most vulnerable spot of the Russian regime: not military weakness, not technological dependence, and finally, lagging behind China and India are most concerned about the Russian authorities. The lack of recognition of the legitimacy of their actions and the unwillingness of the West to establish some kind of open and trusting relations with Moscow, during which it would be possible to test options for a possible union, are worrying.
The harshness of the Russian reaction (it’s hard to talk about adequacy) is associated with the feeling that the United States has these components of power that Russia cannot respond to symmetrically. Attempts at symmetry (the ban on the entry of Americans or the investigation of the state of human rights in America, etc.) look unconvincing, since the American arsenal is based on powerful economic and military-strategic superiority at the global level. Russia has exhausted the Soviet resource to the bottom and is trying to find another ideological base, the presence of which would make any political steps more substantive.
The current alienation between Russia and the United States, the apotheosis of which was initially the exchange of laws in December 2012 of the year, and then the “Snowden case”, paradoxically because there are no material grounds and good reasons for it. Syria is a clear example of how the differences between Russia and the United States are exaggerated. The cause of the aggravation should be sought in the non-material sphere. And here we should add the following: the fact is that in modern world politics perceptions play an increasing role. And post-Soviet Russia (like the former Soviet Union, and even earlier Tsarist Russia) in America is perceived (since the pogroms of the beginning of the century, then the October Revolution and the Cold War) are always negative.
According to a number of Russian experts, while the current political and economic order reigns in Russia, one cannot even dream of a serious systemic rapprochement between the two countries, because there are no mechanisms for such rapprochement (private investment, private entrepreneurship, independent court, free circulation of information, restriction of interference). officials in the economy, etc.). Consequently, only some point-specific programs (such as Skolkovo) are possible, but there can be no more extensive and deeper cooperation.
Nevertheless, there are chances for a breakthrough, for a new reboot. Moscow and Washington are looking for options for providing Russia with guarantees of non-directionality of the US-NATO missile defense system on its nuclear deterrence forces that do not require approval from the US Congress (unlike legally binding guarantees that the Russian Federation had previously insisted on).
In the future, be it mutual political will, already in the framework of the Nunn-Lugar-type program, the Russian Federation and the United States could carry out projects in the CIS: for example, to improve safety at nuclear enterprises. In the Middle East, they could retrain nuclear scientists, military chemists and biologists from Iraq and Libya. In addition, the Russian Federation and the United States could implement projects to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.
Despite some exchanges of pricks, Obama’s position is to maintain relatively normal relations with Russia. But at the same time in Washington today they expect that in the coming years, due to the difficult domestic and global market conditions, the Russian economy will be plunged into stagnation, and this will turn political stability into a negative factor, which means that economically and politically Russia may weaken. That, in turn, will open up new opportunities for the United States for external pressure and manipulation. At the same time, it is somehow forgotten that, more recently, the weakening of America itself is in full swing.
Returning to the question that was posed at the beginning of this article, we can conclude the following. Unfortunately, today the USA misinterprets the processes of globalization and their possible results even for themselves. In a holistic and interdependent world, America continues to play “zero-sum game” with perseverance, and relations with Russia are no exception. According to some attentive observers, the personal factor also plays a role - Obama’s dislike of Obama and hidden