Russia today is on a “Solo Voyage”, writes Dmitri Trenin in his new book that brings together for the first time in Russian a collection of articles and briefings written in 2006-2009 by Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and chair of the Center’s Foreign Policy and Security program.
Not so long ago at the center of global events and processes, Russia is gradually becoming isolated as it cuts its own trail in the foreign policy wilderness, seemingly unconcerned that no one is following. Trenin writes: "Russia has clearly distanced itself from America and the unified Europe. Its friendship with China does not go beyond bilateral trade and joint soft-line opposition to Washington. Theoretically, ties with India are problem-free, but have no serious material base to them. The purely pragmatic nature of relations with Iran, the Arabs, and the Latin American Left speaks for itself. Finally, Russia stands apart among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, as its neighbors are well aware, having refused to follow Moscow’s lead and recognize Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence from Georgia.”
The collection presents Trenin’s writings in reverse chronological order, from the most recent to the earliest, enabling readers to trace the country’s political evolution from the present day back into recent history. The articles were originally intended for an international audience and were written in English. Publishing them now in Russia, Trenin argues, should help to stimulate discussion of important issues that have no clear solutions. He sees the prospects for Russia’s current foreign policy strategy, as well as the link between Russia’s domestic and foreign policies, as being among such intractable issues.
“It is clear, however, that for as long as Russia exists, it will keep changing,” Trenin writes. “Unless one gives in to hopeless pessimism, there is no reason to affirm that what we see today is the final word in Russian foreign policy thinking and practice. Moscow’s foreign policy has taken a familiar road, but it is a road that leads nowhere. The dead end is already visible up ahead, and this means the time has come for reflection and new decisions.”
Full text of the book is available in Russian.