Recent developments in Russia's foreign policy reflect the country's struggle to preserve its status as a “great power” through modernization.
The real challenge facing Kyiv today is to deliver on the promise of effective government in the short term, without sacrificing Ukraine’s long-term strategic interests.
Russia, Europe, and the United States are critical players in Moldova’s development and have an opportunity to help transform Moldova into a real post-Soviet success story and prove that a prosperous democracy can exist in the space between East and West.
Given Moldova’s economic potential and political openness, the United States, the European Union, and Russia can play a significant role in aiding Moldova on the path to EU membership and helping to transform the country into a prosperous pluralistic democratic state.
If Russia wants to be a principal security provider and peace guarantor in the CIS space, it will need to refocus its strategy away from resisting NATO's drive and U.S. deployments and toward conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
Resolving the conflict over Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdnestr would have wide-reaching positive implications for Russia, the EU, and the United States, but this opportunity will be lost if the issue is not addressed in the near future.
The Russian government’s drive to modernize its economy is increasingly reflected in its foreign policy priorities, including its relations with the United States, Europe, and China and its position on Iran's nuclear program.
The Hague ruling on Kosovo's independence indirectly strengthens the position of other self-proclaimed states—from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to Nagorno-Karabakh and North Cyprus. However, legal rulings do not negate the need to find a political solution.
Europe encompasses more than just the European Union; Russians are Europeans as well. As Russia continues to evolve, it needs wide-ranging efforts at modernization, and the European Union can certainly help. Yet Russia needs to work with the entirety of the EU, not only its larger members.
The need for a strong relationship between Moscow and Brussels is clear, but Europe faces administrative and political barriers to a common policy on Russia and Russia remains unwilling to undertake the reforms that would make it more compatible with the EU.