20 Years of Leading Analysis

Russia and the Reset

Source: Getty
Op-Ed New York Times
Summary
Barack Obama’s re-election may signal predictability in U.S.-Russian relations, but this relationship needs to be upgraded from largely tactical to strategic.
Related Topics
Related Media and Tools
 

The Kremlin is pleased with the outcome of the U.S. presidential vote. Barack Obama’s re-election means predictability in U.S.-Russian relations. There will be no ritual or real repudiation of the previous four years, no painful reassessment of past policies, and no abrupt change in the cast of characters. There might even be more flexibility, as Obama promised Dmitri Medvedev, on the thornier issues of the relationship, such as missile defense.

Yet, the relationship is in need of some heavy lifting. Unless the reset is followed by a rethink, both the United States and Russia will be getting less and less from each other.

A rethink would mean, above all, upgrading the relationship from largely tactical to strategic. In the last four years, Obama’s Russia policy was primarily geared to Afghanistan and Iran. Cooperation with Moscow has allowed the U.S. to ferry troops and matériel to and from Afghanistan across Russia: a big help, in view of conditions in Pakistan. It has also permitted a modicum of unity among the major powers with regard to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Besides, Washington and Moscow succeeded in reaching another agreement on cutting their nuclear forces and in having Russia finally join the World Trade Organization.

This is certainly good, but not good enough. Differences over Syria and a lack of agreement on missile defense, and reaction in America to Russia’s domestic developments and the Kremlin’s counter-reaction, threaten to undermine the relationship.

As people used to say during George W. Bush’s first term, unless the U.S.-Russia relationship goes up, it will go down. They were right then, and this lesson must be learned. Making the relationship strategic would mean protecting it from being overwhelmed by disagreements abroad and special interests at home.

Does Russia deserve a strategic status in U.S. foreign policy? Consider the following. An agreement on cooperative missile defenses in Europe would make sure that the country with a nuclear arsenal almost as big as America’s would no longer have to be counted as a potential military adversary. Expanding Washington’s vision for the Asia-Pacific to include the country which has a 2,700-mile long border with China and the longest shoreline in the Pacific would make the “pivot” more realistic. Making sure that the Arctic emerges as an area of cooperation par excellence would require dealing with Russia, the biggest of the five littoral states.

Dealing with Russia will not be easy. It is not America’s equal, but fiercely independent; it is not an ally, but not a willing adversary either. Russia, however, is critical for the 21 century’s global balance — and that should not escape Obama’s attention.

This article originally appeared in the New York Times.

End of document

Comments

 
Source http://carnegie.ru/2011/11/30/russia-china-and-geopolitics-of-energy-in-central-asia/fhk8

2012 Carnegie Election Guide: A View From Moscow

More from The Global Think Tank

Publication Resources

In Fact

 

45%

of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.

30%

of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.

140

charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.

2.5–5

thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.

92%

of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.

$2.34

trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.

37%

of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.

72%

of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.

90%

of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.

13%

of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.

17

U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.

40%

of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.

120

million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.

60–70%

of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.

58%

of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.

67%

of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.

50%

of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.

18%

of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.

81%

of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.

32

million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3

Syrians

now needs urgent assistance.

370

political parties

contested India’s last national elections.

70%

of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.

70%

of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.

20%

of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.

58%

of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.

$536

billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.

$100

billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.

4700%

increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.

$11

billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.

2%

of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.

78

journalists

were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

Stay In The Know

Enter your email address in the field below to receive the latest Carnegie analysis in your inbox!

Personal Information
 
 
Carnegie Moscow Center
 
16/2 Tverskaya Moscow, 125009 Russia
Phone: +7 495 935-8904 Fax: +7 495 935-8906
Please note...

You are leaving the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy's website and entering another Carnegie global site.

请注意...

你将离开清华—卡内基中心网站,进入卡内基其他全球中心的网站。