A Half-Democratic Russia Will Always Be a Half-Ally to the United States

By McFaul, Michael; Zlobin, Nikolai | Demokratizatsiya, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

A Half-Democratic Russia Will Always Be a Half-Ally to the United States


McFaul, Michael, Zlobin, Nikolai, Demokratizatsiya


The improvement in Russian-American relations is one of the few positive factors in the muddled picture of international relations today. Russian president Vladimir Putin's support for the American struggle against international terrorism has elevated communications between two former enemies to a new level Politicians on either side of the ocean are calling the United States and Russia "allies." Noting the decisiveness with which President Putin supports the United States and Washington's extremely positive reaction to this, many Russian politicians and public figures have begun speaking openly of Russia's entry into Western organizations and unions. Membership in the World Trade Organization is discussed in Moscow as an obvious reward that Russia should receive for supporting American military actions; entry into the European Union is brought up as a relatively near goal, and so forth. The hopes are great, but do they reflect reality? Inflated expectations and skewed assessments of the speed and character of Russia's integration into the West are dangerous.

It is true that the new situation brings forth many hopes, but it also provides the groundwork for possible future disillusion. Russia's drive toward integration must be welcomed, but without open discussions concerning the entire range of problems hampering the development of relations between Russia and the West, Russian and American officials are simply exaggerating unrealistic expectations, the collapse of which could seriously complicate relations in the future. This is a replay of the situation ten years ago, when an absence of pragmatism led to the appearance of hopes that were never realized. The last euphoric moment left both sides with a bitter aftertaste and brought about a mutual cooling off. Discussing Russian entry into Western structures without considering realistic criteria is not only useless, but also hazardous, because it could lead to a new round of hostility toward the United States and the West as a whole.

U.S. president George W. Bush and Putin must develop a realistic approach to Russia's integration into the West. They need to distinguish between short-term and long-term goals. Relations between Russia and the United States are such that they can change fundamentally depending on changes in the political environment. Without a doubt, America needs Russia's help in the fight against international terrorism. But this fight is only an immediate goal and cannot serve as a foundation for a strategic partnership between Moscow and Washington. Strategic partnerships are based not on one country's "need" of another in a particular situation or on concessions, but on the concurrence of strategic interests. These can involve, for example, National Missile Defense (NMD). What will happen if the extremists get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons? What will they do with them? President Putin asked this question of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson in October and received no answer. The interests could include the coordination of policy in Central Asia. In its time, the Soviet Union spent billions of dollars but only secured the friendship of nations such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and North Korea. Russian membership in NATO and the European Union could also be one of these mutual strategic interest.

Russia's attitude toward entry into NATO is an example of disproportionate expectations. During his meeting with Lord Roberson, Putin spoke about the desirability of total cooperation between Russia and NATO. Neither of the two leaders saw any reason precluding Russian membership in the organization. Yet at the same time Moscow speaks of making NATO a political organization as a condition for joining. That is a dangerous thing to say. The Kremlin has to decide whether it is trying to change the essence of NATO or find ways of mutually beneficial cooperation. Speaking about changing the nature and structure of NATO not only irritates many members of the alliance, but also happens to be completely unrealistic. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Half-Democratic Russia Will Always Be a Half-Ally to the United States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.