U.S. and Russia collide on Europe’s heartland

Selim Ibraimi- Center for Security Studies and Development- Macedonia (CSSD)

As Russia became more undemocratic and adopted a hard line approach toward U.S and EU, the international political arena in last ten years hasn’t seen warm diplomatic relations between former Presidents Bush and Putin or a very good relationship between Obama and Medvedev or Obama-Putin strains. In this context US policy of the last three administrations for some experts of Russian affairs has failed to analyze this new resurgence in Russian politics or send clear message about how the US would respond now and in the future to the new undemocratic policies of the Kremlin. Moreover, for the last five years, US policy toward Moscow took a misplaced approach founded on weak relations, tension. This US approach let the Russian leadership to be autocratic and out of control on all major political issues in the former Soviet states (Stephen, 2010).

Russia’s energy wealth has allowed Kremlin to buy a weak stability, enable its leadership to maintain its fake popularity, and ensure that Russia will continue to have influence over issues such as the spread of nuclear tech to other regional players that are important to the US policy on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or globally (Stephen, 2010). The “grand strategy” of Russia is to pursue confrontation in the region, for its own sphere of dominance in region and projecting power in global scale. But US and EU states have continued to support other Russian neighbors as basis for stopping Russia’s desire for use of forces for no reason. However, Russian policy makers watch the US and EU very closely for any moves and breakup of the transatlantic relations.In this line Russia is using the oil and energy reserves for geopolitical purposes to influence the Europeans for changing the state relations towards Moscow. The new tension between EU and US in terms of security(BMD) could influence for good the Russian geopolitics in Europe. For almost twenty years only in Iran case, US and Russia in 2010 have reached a common language in using a more economic and diplomatic sanctions against the regime in Tehran. It’s not clear how long the international consensus will stay in game, because when it is the question of the US global interests, Russia, can change anytime the geopolitical status against the US and UK (Stephen, 2010).
Russia’s nuclear status and its membership in the UN Security Council, which gives it significant global influence on the case, nuclear North Korea, Middle East Process and, in Iran nuclear talks, haven’t had much positive outcome or results in near future (Cohen, 2007).
For a decade the US and EU told Moscow to stop supporting regimes in Iran and North Korea and truly in recent weeks we have see how Russia and China as international observers of North Korea in last military actions try to protect the regime in North Korea. Russia as member of six party talks, never called a special secession in UNSC to take in account actions of North Korea regarding the nuclear issue. Despite the diplomatic games of Russia vs. US in world politics, some experts, say that in the early 1990 the US failed to pursue a grand strategy that took into account the role, Russia would play in the world twenty years later and it would be important to avoid repeating that mistake allowing Kremlin to use force and pressure against US allies or blocking some proposal and US goals in international organizations.

Map Sources: GI