Tuesday, March 29, 2011

After A "Reset"

"Reset" over and over successfully. Russia's relations - United States removed to a level that is safe, as it was in 2005-2008. Figures and symbols of the "reset" - START-3 agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy (the so-called 123 agreement), transit to Afghanistan through Russian territory, closer cooperation on Iran's nuclear program, an agreement on Russia's WTO accession.

…Some experts believe that the American elite is fundamentally anti-Russian sentiments prevail, or they can become hostile at any moment....

Impressive results

Weakened, that is no less important stimuli, more recently, provoke tensions in Russian-US relations. In fact, postponed indefinitely the question of NATO expansion. Ukrainian leadership has announced the country's neutral status. The ratio of the Obama administration to Saakashvili's cool. No re-militarization of Georgia does not occur. Comparative calm on its northern border - yet another proof of the "reset".

Along with the frequent meetings of the presidents, which, however, for the most part are held on the sidelines of international forums, there is a new mechanism - the two-way presidential commission designed to structure the Russian-American cooperation, to become a "bureaucratic motor and stabilizer. Working Groups are working with a different impact, but overall results are not bad.

Achievements are impressive, but remember, it was recently. Back in November last year, "reboot" was threatened, if not failure, then a hard landing. The fate of START-3 was hanging by a thread. Prospects for the 123 Agreement seemed no better. In the first case, the game was almost ruined Senator John Kyle, who could not stay in an effort to wrest the American administration as much as possible concessions in return for agreeing not to obstruct the ratification of the treaty. In the second - all could spoil the calendar: for the passage of the "123 th" elementary missed several days of the congress. But in the end everything finished well.President Obama and his energetic and experienced team - Vice President Biden, Clinton Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense Gates ensured the success on Capitol Hill.

Problem for Moscow and Washington

So, I repeat, "reboot" has ended. Now, after ministers Lavrov and Clinton have pressed the wrong button with the famous Russian translation of the English word Reset, which caused so many smiles, a Russian-American relations are in much better shape. The question is: where to go next, where the new guidelines?

To answer this question, both sides need strategic thinking. For the leadership of the Russian Federation the main task for the foreseeable historical perspective - to overcome the backwardness of our country as compared to advanced countries. In other words - the modernization of Russia. Hence, the country's foreign policy must do everything possible to address precisely this historical task. The foreign policy of modernizing the country should have a clear priority - to attract external resources for the planned reforms. In this case, as taught by Deng Xiaoping, should not be distracted by all sorts of stimuli.

The right resources, of course, mainly concentrated in advanced countries of Europe, North America, Asia Pacific. Most of these countries - U.S. allies. Good relations with the Americans, respectively, create more opportunities for Russia, bad - significantly reduce them. And the United States itself are and will continue for decades to come the leader of the worldwide scientific and technical progress, the most important source of innovation development.

Another logical to Moscow's foreign policy at the beginning of the XXI century must be the creation of conditions for growing of Russia into the global economy through the integration of leading Russian and multinational enterprises, the transformation of Russian companies into transnational. Cross-investment and exchange of shares between the economic players in Russia and the EU, as well as between Russians and Americans are not only able to build a solid foundation of bilateral relations, but also strengthen the position of Russia in world economics and politics.

Foreign policy should also contribute to national security. Many in our country still feel the loss of a military balance with the United States the main threat to Russia. Defining the same threat to Russia, has traditionally come from the worst option. While allowing the United States to strike are considered without regard to their intentions. Some experts believe that the American elite is fundamentally anti-Russian sentiments prevail, or they can become hostile at any moment.

The military balance of Russia - the U.S., but actually could be restored, given the difference in the economic, demographic, scientific and technical potentials of the two countries. But it does not matter. Existing nuclear shield makes Russia a chance to be safe. The most competent Russian experts believe that the deterrence factor will remain at all stages of the U.S. missile defense system. By the way, having multiple smaller nuclear forces, China has so far met the minimum capacity to contain the other great powers.

With regard to U.S. intentions, the task of Russian foreign policy - to strive to ensure that they were most friendly. This is the sine qua non for the successful solution of the country's modernization. It is not talking about the conclusion of the unequal alliance or the "surrender" by Russia's strategic independence. For example, India, whose aggregate national power today as Russians, has managed in recent years to build friendly relations with America, without any prejudice to its sovereignty.

If we look at the US-Russian relations from Washington, they represent a significant resource for global U.S. foreign policy. Strategically-minded Americans, which, unfortunately, not so much as one would like, well aware of the importance of the Russian factor for resourcing of the world economy, countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The list can be easily extended. Here and fighting terrorism, improving the competitiveness of Europe, making the sustainability of positive changes in the Muslim world. Finally, last but not least - the formation of geopolitical balance in Northeast Asia. Once hailed as Reset, President Obama, it seems that in dealing with pressing problems of Afghanistan and Iran, the Russian direction of support. Today, it can and must become strategic.


What you need to take both sides? The main thing - to determine the vector of the Russian-American relations. In a nutshell - it's demilitarization and the support of Russia's modernization.

Demilitarization means, of course, not disbanding armies, or at least a joint renunciation of nuclear weapons, and the transformation of the residual potential rivalry and hostility toward a real partnership. No new agreements on START unable to solve the problem. Arms control - is in essence a tool of regulation of hostility. We also need a transition from hostility to cooperation. At present, this project has transformational potential of cooperation in the field of missile defense - EUROPRO.

It is, in principle, the integration of tracking and warning of missile launches, the coordination independent of each other fighting systems Russian Federation and the United States, the definition of zones and levels of responsibility of these systems, which can be closed. If the project goes (and for that the conditions exist), Russia's relations - the U.S. will begin to acquire a new quality. Ultimately, both American and Russian weapons will unfold "outside", forming a perimeter security in the Euro-Atlantic area, within which will be in both countries and their partner states. Thus the main future joint project becomes EUROPRO.


Common Problems

The most important foreign policy event in support of Russia's modernization will be the entry of Russia into the World Trade Organization. For Russia, the WTO - not so much a question of terms of trade, but an instrument of economic modernization and legal system. That's right, by the way, understand the Chinese WTO membership, which for all known issues have managed to draw the requirements of the World greatly to their advantage.

Chinese, among other things in his time lobbying for Taiwan. In Russia the opposite situation: the conditions imposed by Georgia. We can not, of course, rely on the fact that the U.S. simply unscrew the hand of Tbilisi for a new relationship with Moscow, but the Americans and Europeans, acting within the WTO, is now actually helping to promote Russia's membership.

Russian-Georgian talks have already begun. At a certain political flexibility and diplomatic ingenuity they can be successful without compromising the fundamental legal positions of Moscow and Tbilisi. In the end, Georgia, perhaps more in many other countries interested in the speedy accession of Russia to the WTO, which will open a Georgian producers of the Russian market.

The U.S. has its homework in connection with the forthcoming entry of Russia into the WTO: the abolition of the Jackson - Vanik and granting Russia permanent normal trading partner of the United States - what used to be called most favored nation status. Repeal amendment, which became the long including the opinion of its real author - Richard Perle anachronism is part of a "trade" agenda of the Obama administration, along with free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Secure the repeal of the amendment in 2011 will be no better than to ratify the START-3 a year earlier. But if she persists in Russia's accession to the WTO, will suffer the interests of American companies operating in the Russian market. And this is a serious argument. So, the closest step in the joint support of the modernization will be the adoption of Russia's WTO accession.

In addition to the "megaprojects" EUROPRO and the WTO from the Russian Federation and the United States there are many other common tasks that make up the fabric of the new Russian-American relations. There comes a time to implement the agreement on peaceful nuclear energy, which both sides benefit significantly. Have mutual interests in the aircraft. Is not difficult to name the various joint innovation projects related to Skolkovo, and not only. In the same row can mention health, education, regional cooperation, and more.

Another range of shared interests: arms control - from the non-nuclear strategic forces and tactical nuclear weapons and conventional weapons in Europe. Share a common interest - the coordination of action within the six-party talks with Iran and North Korea's nuclear issue.There are a whole range of issues concerning Afghanistan - from ensuring stability in the country during the gradual withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops, starting this year, to joint action to combat the drug threat emanating from Afghanistan. The U.S. and Russia could cooperate successfully in North Africa, the Middle East - from Morocco to Pakistan.


Strategic direction

We should not forget about the interests in Asia and the Pacific. Strictly speaking, "a great neighbor to the east of Russia are the United States. His most serious internal challenge for Russia today - lack of development of its eastern regions: Eastern Siberia, Baikal region, the Pacific Coast, their lack of "refinement" in all-Russian space. Meanwhile, our country as a whole faces the challenge of integration in the Pacific, became the new center of global economic development.

In the XXI century, Russia must either establish itself as a country of the Euro-Pacific, or to accept the position of both raw materials periphery of Europe and Asia. To cope with these challenges, it is necessary, including international cooperation. The more "flags on a visit" will be on our Pacific Ocean, the higher will be to develop "master's" Russian tricolor. U.S. and its allies - Japan, Canada, South Korea may become, along with neighboring China in the important resources of Russia's development and international integration. It is time to think about the North-Pacific community with all the listed countries. One of the advantages of this approach is the lack of a dominating power that Russia is especially important.

The most serious problem, however, lie not in the field of international projects and bilateral negotiations. Greater concern is the political situation in Russia and the United States. In both countries there are many people who came to the establishment during the Cold War, brought, respectively, in a spirit of profound mutual mistrust, even hostility. In addition, there are groups of people - professional fighters with "American imperialism" and "Russian totalitarianism, authoritarianism." You can not just dismiss emerged after the Cold War, resentment, frustration and irritation. Affects even the asymmetry of current relations. In Russia, the "hand of Washington's" looking almost under every bed in America, the same day Russia is sometimes the fire can not be found.

This situation imposes a special responsibility on the leaders of both countries. 2011-th - the last year before the presidential elections in Russia and the U.S.. While we can assume that Russia is unlikely to change foreign policy, while the U.S. is likely to be re-elected the current president. If these expectations are fulfilled, Russia and America will have a chance to build a new relationship of cooperation and trust and make them irreversible. Provided, of course, that leaders in Moscow and Washington will be guided by the strategic interests of their countries.

Dmitri Trenin ,
Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center

Published in issue number 11 (377) for March 23, 2011


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