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THE RETURN OF HISTORY? US/RUSSIAN RELATIONS . Readings: Cox and Stokes CH 13, Carter CH 6, Beasley CH 5, King, Simes. Guiding Questions . How can we classify US/Russian relations in the post Cold War era? What are the goals of Russian foreign policy?

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the return of history us russian relations



Cox and Stokes CH 13, Carter CH 6, Beasley CH 5, King, Simes

guiding questions
Guiding Questions

How can we classify US/Russian relations in the post Cold War era?

What are the goals of Russian foreign policy?

Do current tensions between the US and Russia suggest a return to the Cold War?

Are we witnessing a “return to history”?

us russian relations pre 9 11
US/Russian Relations: Pre 9/11
  • Initial domestic instability within the CIS worried NATO. Key aims included:
    • 1) Avoiding another Chernobyl
    • 2) Limiting nuclear proliferation.
    • 3) Russian entrance into the IMF.
    • 4) Support for Russian democracy.
  • Despite the rhetoric, US/Russian relations were in a position of benign neglect until 9/11.
us russian relations post 9 11
US/Russian Relations: Post 9/11
  • Given its location,Bush saw an opportunity to solidify Russian support in the fight against terror.
    • Personal relationship between Bush and Putin solidified by a shared view of terrorist threats.
  • High handed domestic politics in both countries led to a weaker emphasis on democratization in Russia.
    • Putin has pulled out of bilateral treaties and has suggested that Russia should re-assert themselves.
  • Orange Revolution, the fight over missile defense, further expansion of NATO, and the conflict in Georgia, dampened relations.
what does russia want
What Does Russia Want?



    • Geopolitically, lack of natural borders has made expansion critical.
    • Expansion provided access to resources necessary to stabilize domestic politics.
    • Militarily, nuclear weapons still make it a force of sorts.
    • Oil and natural gas deposits have been a source of tension; have used them to “punish” states that do not follow Russia dictates.
    • Economically, not a major power.
    • Soviet ideology critical for ‘greatness’ as the vanguard of an international revolution.
    • Restore Russian power and influence
    • Create a sphere or influence in the “near abroad” free from outside influence.
  • Political institutional autonomy built under Yeltsin hollowed out under Putin.
    • President had been the key player in foreign affairs.
    • Boosting the PM before Putin’s exit raises questions about this.
    • Legislature and Judiciary not terribly relevant.
    • Democracy should take a uniquely Russian flavor.
  • Many of the major players in Russian politics today were active in the previous regime.
  • Public opinion: Has been responsive to Putin’s calls to restore Russian influence.
  • Media: Not free.
  • Parties: Not independent.
return of the cold war
Return of the Cold War?
  • Simes 2007
  • Rhetoric and posturing between the US and Russia threaten to return to the Cold War era.
    • Would complicate relations with China.
    • Would boost stalemate at the United Nations
  • Who is to blame?
    • Both sides.
    • US: “Screwed up” post Communist aftermath by failing to emphasize the relationship.
      • Russia is not a defeated enemy; Reagan did not “win” the Cold War.
      • “Spinach treatment” created resentment.
    • Russia: Foreign policy assertiveness coupled with domestic crackdowns create distrust.
      • Encouraging Yeltsin to ignore the Duma set the stage for Putin’s authoritarianism.
  • Ignoring Russian opinion on Kosovo, NATO expansion, and Al Qaeda damaging.
  • ABM treaty withdrawal, US support for the Orange and Rose revolutions were the last straw.
return of the cold war1
Return of the Cold War?
  • King 2009
    • Georgian conflict was not the start of a new Cold War.
    • Pattern of engagement then seclusion is nothing new.
    • Shows Russia no longer sees international institutions as in its interest.
      • West controls and manipulates the international system for their own benefit.
        • Other states also share this mindset.
how to fix the relationship
How To Fix the Relationship?
  • Simes 2007
  • US must show a renewed commitment to US-Russian relations.
    • Focus on shared interests:
      • 1) Counterterrorism
      • 2) Non Proliferation
      • 3) Iran
    • US should
      • 1) Make it clear that invading NATO members would be unacceptable.
      • 2) Make it clear that reforming the USSR is unacceptable.
      • 3) Using Russian law to seize foreign assets is damaging for relations.
      • 4) Place missile defenses in Czech Republic and Poland.
the return of history
The Return of History?
  • Kagan 2007
    • ‘End of history’ resonated in the 1990’s
      • China and Russia were appearing to shift towards democracy
    • International politics shows evidence of a ‘return to history”
  • There is no return to the traditional “Cold War” setting
    • US remains the dominant power within the international system and is likely to remain so
      • But power is returning to relevance in international politics
          • 1) Nations remain “strong”
          • 2) Unipolar world exists; but regional powers jockeying for position
          • 3) Struggle between liberalism vs. authoritarianism and modernity vs. traditionalism shaping global politics
        • US hegemony plays a critical role in ensuring that these new rivalries do not run rampant
conclusions us russia relations
Conclusions: US/Russia Relations
  • Putin contends “light switch” handling under Yeltsin as inappropriate to great power relations.
    • Many argue that the on again/off again relationship should be overhauled.
    • “Reset” by the Obama administration sought to improve this relationship
      • Obama’s relationship with Medvedev key; unclear if this will change after Putin returns to the presidency
  • Oil and natural gas have given the Russians the ability to exert greater leverage at the international level.
  • Russia has used international institutions and economic practices to balance the US.
    • Although cooperation over terrorism is still strong
  • Domestic political institutional instability complicates negotiations with the Russians.
    • Western style democracy, in the short term, appears to be a bridge too far.
next lecture
Next Lecture
  • If You’re Interested…
    • Politkovskaya. Putin’s Russia
    • Kagan. The Return of History and the End of Dreams
  • Theme: New Challenges for US Foreign Policy-Hegemony and the Security Trap
    • Cox and Stokes CH 21
    • Gelb (Foreign Affairs-May/June 2009)
    • Nye: (Foreign Affairs-November/December 2010)