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    05 august, 2009

    The saving straws for Russia and the USA

    Author: Александр ENG Брод ENG, no comments

    The meeting of the presidents Barack Obama and Dmitriy Medvedev was very eagerly awaited in Russia. The club of problems that built up over the years between the 2 countries was simply too big. The mutual dissatisfaction reached such a high point, analysts started talking about a new Cold War starting. The “Restart” of the current situation doesn’t only await Russia and America, but also the whole world – since the overall geopolitical position of the world depends greatly on the developing relationships of the 2 greatest nuclear nations in the world.


    In the harsh dropping of relations to dislike, both countries are responsible. The first euphoric years after the collapse of the Soviet Union when it seemed that Russia and America would go hand in hand to a bright democratic future, is long gone. The time when the World Bank with the hearty support from America gave Russia loans in billions and sent thousands of tons of humanitarian help, and Russia made wide gestures, to cover up its military bases, disappeared in history.


    America led several wars. The bombing of Serbia led many Russian citizens to dislike President Bush. The invasion of Afghanistan, which was supported by Russia, turned out to be ineffective – the Afghan government is practically hiding itself behind American guns and only controls Kabul, the Taliban squads calmly roam the country and control 20% of the world’s production of heroin, a large portion of which ends up in Russia – which the Russian government can’t be worried about. The results of the last war – in Iraq – also can’t be positive. The American invasion of Iraq caused an explosion of Muslim terrorist attacks not only in Iraq itself, but also worldwide (this explosion greatly effected Russia as well).


    The hard-headed American politics of setting up anti-rocket systems all around Russia obviously caused a confused and unpleased reply from the Russian government. The last straw was the support by the American government of the various “orange revolutions” in post-Soviet countries and especially the hot-headed actions of Georgia, which led to the conflict in South Ossetia and the countless victims. In the end, the economic crisis provoked the long-lived American financial politics.


    The coming to power of a young and ambitious politic inspired many Europeans, who were feeling great idiosyncrasy towards George W. Bush (not the greatest of American presidents, mildly put) and his politics. One of the first gestures of the new administration of the White House is characterized by the computer term “re-start”. If there is going to be a “re-start” in the Russian-American relationships and the warming and understanding of them, this will play a very important role in their cooperation, and will change the whole world.


    It is obvious, that the dialogue of the 2 presidents will be very saturated. The world waits of the agreement of the politics of the nuclear preparations of Iran, which is tightly connected to the discussion of the situation of the set-up of the missile defense systems. Right now, 20 of the world’s most famous scientists, 10 of which were nominated for the Nobel Prize, asked the American president to overlook the plans for the missile defense. Scientists aren’t sure if these systems will actually work, while all they are doing right now is making the American relationships with Russia worse.


    Russians are also having big hopes of improving the Russian-American trade relations, that the American government won’t stop Russian companies and investments into the American market, and will actively invest into Russia. It is especially important to agree on such economic actions now, during the crisis.


    Big hopes are put into Barack Obama’s visit in the point of the social-political situation in Russia. We have a lot to learn from America – in the point of democratic rules, the open-mindness of the American society, the freedom of speech and the criticism of the government. An important point in the dialogue could be the discussion of non-commercial organizations in both countries. In the USA, there’s a civil society that, despite all the modern economic and political hardships, actually works and greatly affects life in America. Russia is still to build such a society – and American experience could come in handy with that. The problems of terrorism and religious extremism, illegal immigration, security questions, the spiritual and cultural crisis - these problems are shared both by America and Russia. Science, culture, education, and social diplomacy – these are our saving straws, ways of cooperation.


    Unless America in the form of the new president, like before, is going to talk in the tones of a teacher and show itself as the only precedent to the role of a single world nation, having the right to solve all the world’s problems its own way. If the theme of the right of man in Russia won’t simply be viewed from “over the ocean” as a tough instrument of political pressure, and the American administration instead of actually helping will pretend that people’s rights are only broken in Russia and other “controlled” or “partially-free” countries. Only if both sides of the meeting will work together to build a multipolar, and, as a result, politically and economically balanced world. Then, and only then, will this bring use not only to our nations, but also the whole world.


    P.S. Sadly, over the last few years, the Russian people are feeling very paranoid about America. In Russia (as, actually in many other nations) there are great anti-American feelings. On a recent survey, only 28% Russian citizens believe that Russian-American relations are to be restored, while 57% believe that everything will remain the same.


    The last bright act of support from the Russian side towards the people and president of the United States was the immediate reaction of the Russian president Vladimir Putin during the catastrophe of 9/11. Since then, many situations occurred which put America and Russia on opposite sides of the barricades.


    Let’s hope that President Obama will pay attention to the scientists’ pleas – though during the meeting Russia should show wisdom and flexibility. It’s imperative to agree on the politics on the situations in Iraq, Pakistan, and the Middle-East. Only united and directed efforts from the 2 countries can change the highly dangerous situation in the Middle East.

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