I appreciate Evgeniy’s recent remarks on the deterioration of Russian and American relations. This is an issue that has not received as much attention as it should.
From my own point of view, I can think of a few items that have caused deterioration on the American side of the relationship. Here is a small and by no means comprehensive list:
- The missile shield being built in Eastern Europe, ostensibly for the prevention of missile attacks from Iran. This is pure garbage. Iran has zero interest in attacking Europe with missiles. The Europeans have proven themselves to be very even-handed when it comes to affairs in the Middle East over the past few decades, and especially in regards to all things Israel. The missile shield in states previously under Moscow’s thumb is a direct provocation towards Russia, and there is absolutely no need for it. Russia, for its part, has no need of attacking Europe either. Moscow currently has a symbiotic relationship with Europe and its energy needs and its own problems in the Caucasus and the Far East.
- The contempt that establishment foreign policy figures in Washington have shown, and continue to show, towards Russia. The remnants of the Cold War have simply refused to go away in Washington. I think this is largely because if the establishment consensus were to acknowledge that Cold War policies are irrelevant, then they would all be out of their lucrative jobs. This contempt spills over into the political arena as well. Remember Mitt Romney’s comments about Russia being the “number one enemy” of the United States? Pure nonsense and both the American people and the Russian people deserve better.
- The continued occupation of the Balkans by Western coalition troops. NATO should have either dissolved or become an all-European alliance once the Warsaw Pact came apart and the Soviet Union split up. Taking sides in the Balkan conflict was designed to do two things at once: 1) stick the West’s thumb in Russia’s eye and 2) convince the Muslim world that the West was paying attention to its needs. A few years after attacking Serbia and initiating the process of splitting it up into smaller states, two skyscrapers full of innocent people were bombed by two jet planes filled with innocent people in New York City. The attacks were done in the name of Islam. In addition to the failure of the Balkan invasion to court the Muslim world, the exercise of power in Russia’s traditional backyard did indeed infuriate the Russians. Instead of an ally or a friend, the policies of NATO have led to cool receptions and deep levels of mistrust in Moscow.
These three policies are a good starting point for understanding why Russian-US relations have cooled considerably since the collapse of the USSR and the presidency of George HW Bush. I think more reaching out is needed on both sides, and I again thank Evgeniy for initiating this discussion. I am hoping for a long and prosperous friendship between free thinkers from two magnificent societies. A friendship that is dedicated to peace and understanding between two peoples who should have never been enemies in the first place.