Relations between Russia, Europe, and the United States are in flux as none is able or wants to maintain what it once had. An attempt to revive the Cold War paradigm has failed, and a new framework of relations has not formed. This state of uncertainty will most likely endure until each player achieves a measure of domestic stability.
The United States is still the leading power, yet this dominance is no longer uncontested. This contestation is coming in a big way from China and other countries.
Russia’s new relationship with the EU could be that of a hybrid vehicle that can run either off the old internal combustion model of East-West geopolitical division or off the new system of global, regional, and sub-regional regimes that preserve and expand the “shared spaces” of Russia and Europe.
Russians have become skeptical about a truly global order. At best, interactions with Western countries will be transactional, based on national interests when those happen to coincide or come close.
Putin has embraced patriotism and Eurasianism, but Russia must soon confront economic, security, and demographic headwinds, as well as the imperative of reform.
Putin directs a foreign policy devoted to the concept of Russia as a great power. Even if he steps down as president in 2024, Putin will likely continue as Russia’s primary leader for years to come.
Russia’s foreign policy priorities in the coming years hinge upon solidifying Russia’s great power status outside the post-Soviet space as well as reducing the country’s political isolation.
The latest U.S. sanctions on Moscow and the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from Russia are not only hurting relations with Russia but also causing divisions between Western politicians.
The Russian president’s decision to cull 755 U.S. Embassy employees was not the act of a man ready to give up on relations with the United States.
While Russia repositions itself as a stand-alone power in the north-central portion of the world’s largest continent, its leaders are seeking to create a distinct national entity amid a vast and highly diverse neighborhood.