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A long confrontation
Material posted: Publication date: 07-09-2014

Political scientist Sergey Karaganov — about when we should expect better relations with the U.S. and why it will not happen soon. Russian-American relations seem to have entered into a long period of confrontation.

Relationship to 2012-2013 years were in a deadlock of mutual severe irritation. And analysis of today's interest groups points to the downside. It is essential that the confrontation does not degenerate into a direct military confrontation.

First USA

Having, as it seemed, the victory in the cold war and almost reaching the dream of a Pax Americana, the American ruling elite tried to secure the victory and even expand the "American world" by means, including military force. But in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the Americans and their allies suffered a political defeat. The 2008-2009 crisis brought down the faith in the liberal model of economic development based on the Washington consensus and associated with the United States. And denote the split of the American elite that identified inefficiencies in the new political model of the United States, caused another blow to American "soft power" — the willingness to voluntarily follow the Americans to imitate them and obey them.

And all these failures take place on the background emerged since the early 2000s, a sharp rise of "new", primarily China.

In the 10 years since the beginning of 2000-ies global positions in the US almost collapsed, given the top, on which they raised the esteem of Americans and the stupidity of others, podtachivayuschih the myth of a "unipolar" world.

By the end of the 2000s, responsible circles in the U.S. elite came to believe that the United States should end excessive external liabilities and focus on its own recovery. This was the task of Barack Obama. But has caused an even greater division bordering on hatred by conservative and Messianic forces. And it is highly likely that Obama will come to truly revanchist team.

While habitually proclaiming a policy aimed at maintaining peace and stability, the U.S. de facto is proceeding to a policy of destabilizing key regions of the world. Undermined the remnants of international law and aggression, and mass killings by drones. This is a significant, if not radical change in foreign policy. Sure, for the majority of members of the American foreign policy establishment even a suspicion that the U.S. is pursuing a policy of destabilization will sound insulting. But such a course is obvious.

The rearguard strategy of formation of zones of instability and potential dependence manifested itself most graphically by first provoking a crisis over Ukraine and subsequent inflation.

The Russian leadership was under inherited from the cold war anti-Americanism, but also the experience of the policy of the last 25 years, which was regarded as unjust and even treacherous. Perhaps, the Russian side was gone after the bombing of Yugoslavia, which shocked even the most Pro-Western members of the Russian elite. But Vladimir Putin tried again after the terrorist attacks on the United States. Did not work. Followed by a new wave of NATO expansion, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

Wanting to try again with Obama. And if it partly remained, the last remnants melted away after Libya. Russia, burn of humiliation of the past years, did not attempt to negotiate in minute American constructiveness.

A mistake of both parties was the "reboot"

It was built on a legacy of unnecessary both sides of the agenda, on the reduction of strategic offensive arms. And at the same time ignoring the really important questions — the destabilization of the Middle East and, more importantly, the post-Soviet space.

Now the chances of exit from the confrontation. The possibility of a sharp pirouette theoretically. Obama has nothing to fear from elections, Putin is strong within the country. But the balance of interests and mutual irritation will interfere with the search for a compromise. Rather, a possible escalation.

Moscow withdrawing from the confrontation does not seem interested. Failing to develop and implement a credible and effective development concept, wasted chatted about "modernization", the Russian elite part consciously, part unconsciously began to look for excuses for his inaction. And always turned to rescuing the country, the Millennium was built around defense, the idea of external threat. Idea of defense. Then started already and the current crisis. The threat appeared.

For the United States at stake in the situation around Ukraine — falling reputation as a leader, the risk of yet another humiliating defeat. The stakes are high because Russia stands as a symbol of a rising and increasingly anti-Western "non-West". Fighting with Russia, but it wants to intimidate China, India, Brazil. Spurs and a feeling, partly false, fueled by its own propagandists, that Russia is a "colossus with feet of clay" that you can try to finish, completing unfinished in the past decades.

And the US really had a ball. Not only discarded all decorum in the information war, set in motion a very double-edged weapon, undermining the trend towards economic globalization, sanctions with the use of payment systems Visa, MasterCard, threats to cut Russia the system of Bank payments SWIFT, personal sanctions against the leading members of the political elite. These sanctions hurt not only Russia, but cut the system of American influence, which was used by all, but which was more profitable for most Americans — the modern financial and trading system.

The bell on the WTO sounds louder

If Russia holds out, in 5-10 years these foundations of U.S. influence will weaken. There will be new alternative payment and financial systems, international banks, reserve currencies, financial centres, will increase flight from the dollar. There will be a growing tendency to create trade and economic groups outside the WTO.

For Russia, the stakes are even higher. To lose in this confrontation would mean to suffer a real and long — defeated. Will be undermined the hopes of the majority of the elite of the rebirth of Russia as a great power and an independent centre of world Economics and politics. And, maybe most importantly for today's Moscow — qualitatively weaken the legitimacy and support of the ruling regime, based more on the revival of national pride and inherent in most Russians ' belief that "we live in a great power".

The us elite in Ukraine doesn't want to retreat. Although a victory that would entail bringing the country into the Western orbit, probably unattainable, given the state of the Ukrainian economy, state and society. The game is played for the achievement of negative goals — preventing Ukraine under Russia's influence, maintaining the division of Europe and the increasingly clear weakening of Russia itself and does not hide the desire in her to topple the ruling regime and personally President Putin. The cost of such policy for the US small. Most of it passed on to Europe, Russia and, of course, the long-suffering people of Ukraine.


The script, which has cast US, to the tragic farce similar to taken from the dusty shelves plan to combat the "evil Empire" of the Reagan years. But instead of organizing an uprising in Poland and Ukraine, instead of the South Korean Boeing — Malaysian. Same attempts to bring down the price of oil, not to prevent the construction of new energy pipelines between Russia and Europe.

The Russian elite is the relative winner. Annexed the Crimea, there was a distillation of national pride and self-worth, and a sharp increase in the popularity of the President. Has dealt a telling blow to the policy of the expansion of the West. Accelerated, although it is not known how irreversibly, the process of transition of the world from Western domination to a more equitable and favorable "to the non-West" to the world order.

But, after losing the first round, when Russia has converted almost latent soft rivalry into a competition of hard power and will, the US and focussing on them, the Europeans are trying to take the fight into areas where they are stronger — economic pressure, information confrontation.

The initial success of Russia pays the deterioration of the economic climate and image in the West. However, since last year, the Kremlin is not worried. Another price is the slowdown due to the distraction of long-overdue economic reorientation to Asia through the accelerated rise of Siberia and the Far East. Distracting Russia from the turn to the East remains a policy goal, and the US and Europeans. Because such a turn would enhance Russia's position in bargaining in the West, and would strengthen China, but provided more room for maneuvering to U.S. allies in Asia, reducing their dependence on U.S. guarantees.

Possibilities of causing direct damage to rivals from Russia is much less. Therefore, in addition to polusinteticescoe embargo on the import of the agricultural products, the Russian strategy of objectively inclined to focus on the collapse of Ukraine. In the hope that the West (Europe) will come to their senses and back off.

Is there a way out? To exclude the worst can't. Distrust is off the charts. "Black swans" — unforeseen disasters or provocations type of the downed Malaysian Boeing may start flying in flocks.

But the solution probably is. Inside Russia, this mobilization of society for radical economic reforms and the development of Eastern countries. The need to focus on inner development finally said Vladimir Putin in Crimea in August 2014.

You need to look for a long — term settlement is better fixed by the contract a new status quo in Europe. The territory of what is now Ukraine, either de facto divided, or becomes a zone of joint development.

Russia needs a peaceful order in the West. Europeans — world in Eastern Europe. Both players faced with the risk of marginalization if they fail to overcome the schism and to unite the capacities and efforts.

Declares eternal neutrality of Ukraine, enshrined in the Constitution and guaranteed by external powers. The East of Ukraine is given autonomy. Russia and Germany agree on joint support for the economic development of Ukraine. There is a mutual termination of sanctions and kontrsanktsy.

Until such a decision away. But the alternative is war in the heart of Europe with the growing threat of disasters in Ukraine 15 nuclear reactors, the doom of the people of the country into decades of misery, the death of tens and hundreds of thousands of people — not only in conflicts, but also due to the degradation of life-support systems, health.

Similar proposals; naturally with a bias towards their interests, are nominated and in the West. It is hoped that diplomacy will be given a chance.

But in any case to put all eggs in the European basket. Therefore, in parallel with attempts to negotiate in the West need to increase efforts in the development of Siberia, the formation of a new Asian economic and political diplomacy, to intensify the SCO and its integration with the EurAsEC, the CSTO, with the Chinese idea of a "new silk road" (to which Beijing seems to be leaning), with the South Korean idea of a "Eurasian community", in the rapprochement with the future leader of the Middle East and Central Asia — Iran. Such a turn would be difficult for the Russian elite, Europe-centered. But the attempt to integrate with the West have not yet succeeded. To abandon Europe, from its European roots dangerous for Russian identity for Russia's development. But not use a formed in the East the possibility of mismanagement and dangerous.

Well, after 4, 8 years may be possible, after an acute crisis, hopefully not of Caribbean proportions, and normalization with the USA. Objectively it was said of the recent past, is in the interest of the parties, and the interests of the entire world.

Sergey Karaganov


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