Background of US-Russia relations.
Contradictory geopolitical interest is the crux US-Russia Relations. USA’s interest is to prevent the integration of Eurasia and the rise of Eurasian power. Russia does not have the aim of establishing hegemony the way USA aims but Russia has compulsion to establish its hegemony or expand its powers. Russia’s geography determines its foreign policy, its political system, its economy. Russia is known as ‘weak’ great power. It is destiny of Russia to expand and contract. In his book THE REVENGE OF GEOGRAPHY, Robert D Kaplan has explained how geography determines the fate of Russia.
Fundamentals of Russia’s foreign policy.
Russia does not have natural defense. Russian population and industrial centers are located just on the borders. Russian capital is not secured like other capitals. Hence Russia has to have the layer of buffer states. Russia has been attacked through the routes of central Asia, Caucasus, western European countries, through the east European countries on its periphery. Hence it is necessary for Russia to expand and establish the control on adjacent territories. Hence ideology had no role in formation of USSR. It is destiny of Russia. Hence USA knows that Russia is bound to expand. Russia is bound to expand its territories to reach the outlets in Baltics, Balkans, In Black Sea, Mediterranean, in Central Asia and in Middle East. Hence there is a possibility of Russia emerging as transcontinental power.
Consequence for being transcontinental for Russia.
Russia expands to protect its security but expansion ultimately becomes the reason for the natural disintegration. Peripheral states can be controlled only by force. Hence Russia has to be authoritarian and Russia has to posses the strong intelligence. There has been resentment against Russia among peripheries. This resentment has been used by USA to contain Russia.
Why resentment? 1_Historically Russia followed scorched earth policy. 2_In order to keep them within its sphere of influence, Russia has to support authoritarian leaders or dictators. Dictators cannot be expected to get support from the people.
Limitations for Russia
1_Russia does have huge natural resources but faces the problem of transportation. Russia is almost land locked at present. Its trade with outside world can be controlled.
2_Despite rich in resources, Russian economy remains in crisis.
3_Authoritarianism – Authoritarianism leads to either socialistic model of economy or crony capitalism.
4_There is a huge corruption in Russia.
5_Poor law and order – that if fails to attract foreign investment.
6_Russia lacks the necessary capital and markets to develop itself. USA forced Russia to remain commodity based economy, the supplier of raw materials.
What is USA’s policy towards Russia?
Beggar thy enemy.
1_USA keeps on imposing sanctions for one or the other reasons.
2_Control the trade routes.
3_Since the main export of Russia is oil, keep oil prices depressed/low. Hence it is very important for Russia that it should have stakes in middle east. Russia would like to improve relations with Saudi Arabia.
4_Engaging Russia in costly arms race when economy is in crisis. e.g. Proposal to withdraw from INF treaty, coming out of ABM treaty. For survival it is absolutely essential for Russia to maintain the nuclear balance.
5_By building alternative pipelines. e.g. Alternative to Tbilisi pipeline – Ceyhan pipeline, Nabucco pipeline.
What does the term cold war denotes?
The term cold war was coined by Bernard Baruch, popularized by Walter Lipman through the series of articles. Term has been used to describe the state of relations between USA and USSR after 2nd WW. It denotes high state of rivalry and is believed that if certain conditions had been absent, it would have resulted into 3rd WW.
What made cold war cold?
According to Kenneth Waltz, nuclear weapons ensured that cold war does not turn into the hot war. However cold war was not entirely cold. It had its warm & cool phases. Cold war and its implications have gone beyond the two countries. It has impacted almost every corner in the globe. The worst affected regions have been the countries in 3rd world. 3rd world became the ground for proxy wars between the two superpowers.
Nature of cold war.
Cold war was like any other war but it had strong ideological dimension. It has been described as the war between the two ways of life. Even the end of cold war is described as the victory of the liberal way of life over the communist way of life.
However from realist perspective, ideologies carry no significance, they are the masks to hide the real intentions. The underlying factor in the cold war was geopolitics. The geopolitical aspirations of USA and geopolitical compulsions of Russia. Since geopolitics is the static factor, even today the relations between the two countries are shaped by geopolitics. Hence there is no scope for the qualitative transformation in the relations.
Social constructivists do not agree with the geopolitical explanation and call cold war as the story of misunderstanding, miscalculations and missed opportunities. Unlike geopolitical perspective which believes that cold war was inevitable, social constructivists deny the deterministic approach. They still believe in the possibility of transformation.
Who was responsible for cold war?
Traditionalist approach – Russia was responsible.
Revisionists – USA was responsible.
Post revisionists – Both were responsible.
Timeline of Cold War
Events before 2nd WW
It is difficult to suggest as to when cold war started but it appears that since the time USA thought of establishing its hegemony on the globe, cold war became inevitable. In the last decade of 19th century emerged the strategic thinking in USA to establish its hegemony. It was held that USA cannot afford to be isolationist. If USA will not dominate, some other country will dominate. In this situation it will not be possible for USA to maintain its prosperity.
1917 – Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
Lenin’s foreign policy
Communism in Russia is not secure until and unless it is surrounded by communist state. Hence Lenin formed Communist International for expansion of Communism.
Stalin’s foreign policy.
Stalin was more concerned about consolidating his own position rather than having plans for expansion of communism. Hence he went for ‘socialism in one country’ approach. However Stalin failed to assure West, West continued interventions in USSR. Hence Stalin formed another body Cominform. The purpose was to support communist gorillas in European countries to install pro-soviet regimes.
Stalin in order to secure Russia entered into 1) Non Aggression Pact, known as Molotov/Ribbentrop pact in Germany in 1939. 2) He entered into Neutrality pact with Japan in 1941.
Stalin’s actions were seen as an attempt by authoritarian powers to come together to end the liberal world. However Russia had to enter into 2nd WW because of Hitler’s invasion on Russia. The biggest expedition of Hitler during 2nd WW known as ‘operation Barbarossa’
Developments during 2nd WW.
Russia was forced to join the war from the side of allied powers, however the only basis to come together was the common enemy. Certain developments during 2nd WW led to the development of suspicions against USA’s design towards Russia.
1) Delay on the part of allied powers to open the 2nd front. It convinced Stalin that west want Russia and Germany to destroy each other.
2) Wartime conferences. In these conferences, the disputes were with respect to a) The future form of govts in eastern Europe. Stalin wanted puppet regimes led by communists. USA wanted puppet regimes led by democrats. b) There was a big difference with respect to future of Germany. Since Russia had suffered the most, Russia wanted to impose heavy penalties on Germany. Western countries, started looking at Germany as a bulwark again, against Russia. Hence their excuse was not to repeat Versailles.
3) Manhattan Project (Nuclear Project), USA kept the nuclear project secret from Russia but informed its allies like Britain and Canada.
Stalin was shocked when USA ended 2nd WW by using nuclear weapon in Japan.There was an agreement that Russian forces will enter from north and western forces will enter from south. However before the entry of Russian forces, USA ended the war, claimed the entire credit also.
Why USA used atomic bomb?
1| To display that it is a superpower.
2| To frighten Russia not to bargain with the form of govts. in eastern Europe.
3| USA didn’t want Russian forces to be present on the territory of Japan after the experience of the attitude of Stalin in Europe. USA knew that Russia will not withdraw the forces.
4| Location of Japan is extremely important to contain Russia’s expansion in the east.
5| Similarly to contain the expansion of China towards the sea.
Hence it was enough to convince Russia that USA has no interest in improving the relations. USA will continue to follow the old policy of containment of Russia. By this time, USSR was able to establish puppet communist regimes in eastern Europe. Stalin’s policy is also known as ‘Salami tactics’.
Developments after 2nd WW.
Baruch plan 1946.
USA proposed the plan for nuclear disarmament at UN. The plan proposed that no country will try to acquire nuclear weapons, will surrender all materials to United Nations. Once all countries will surrender, USA will also surrender.
Gromyko Plan. Russia proposed that 1st US should surrender. It was unacceptable to USA.
1946 – The long telegram sent by Mr. X.
Who was Mr. X? George Kennan, the realist scholar. He was US ambassador to Moscow. He gave the formal policy of containment.
It was a secret telegram to guide USA about their approach towards Russia. It was mentioned that Russia looks at itself in a permanent state of war with USA. Russia is committed to root out capitalism. Hence USA should pursue patient, vigilant and firm containment policy.
March 1946. Truman doctrine.
1_Application of containment. 2_End of Monroe doctrine. 3_The beginning of the active involvement of USA in world affairs. 4_The occasion was the possibility of Greece and Turkey falling to communism. The two important points to block Russia’s entry in Mediterranean. 5_Truman announced the aid of $40mn to these countries. 6_He assured USA’s help to the people fighting for freedom and self determination anywhere.
It was enough indication to incite insurgency in USSR’s peripheral regions and east European countries.
June 1947. Marshall Plan.
The economic component of containment. It was to provide aid for reconstruction and development of Europe including Eastern Europe. However the real advantage was that it will make dollar a global currency, economies of all countries of Europe will become dependent on USA. It would be easy for USA to acquire military bases to secure their economic interests.
CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance /Comecon)
It was Soviet response against Marshall plan to stop east European countries to look for help from USA. USSR would provide the aid for rebuilding these countries. It was based on the philosophy of communism. Each country will contribute for the development of the other. Whichever country will have surplus resource, it will lend it to the other. It was like the application of centralized planning at bigger level involving east European countries.
CMEA was later on joined by Mongolia, Cuba and even Vietnam. However CMEA remained non-starter. It ended in 1991.
Thus economic bipolarity got established in Europe.
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis
Détente Phase – phase of relative peace. [1967 – 1979]
There was no qualitative improvement because rivalry is based on geopolitical facts. However there was relaxation of tensions because both the superpowers got exhausted. They needed time for rejuvenation.
Detente was a term used by scholars for US Russia relations, for similar level type of change in the relations between US and China, the term rapprochement is used. There was a type of improvement between East and West Germany for which the term Ostpolitik was used.
1_1964 Partial Test Ban Treaty. (PTBT). It bans nuclear testing in atmosphere in water. (not underground).
2_Outer space treaty 1967.
4_ABM treaty 1972 (Anti Ballistic Missile). In 2002 USA had withdrawn. (One of the reason for beginning of new cold war).5_1972_SALT 1 Strategic Arms limitation treaty
6_1975_Helsinki Accords. It Led to the establishment of the conference on security and cooperation in Europe. It is renamed as organization for security and cooperation in Europe. It is based on the idea of cooperative security as an alternative to collective defense.
Present relevance of the institution (Helsinki Accords)
This is the only security platform where Russia is involved with the western countries. Russia wants that this should be a main platform for security cooperation in post cold war situation. Russia puts question mark on continuation of NATO.
However USA does not support the idea. USA favors collective defense. NATO was formed against Russia. Russia is not comfortable with continuation and expansion of NATO eastward. West did not accept the inclusion of Russia in NATO after cold war.
To satisfy Russia, west has created NATO Russia partnership council. But it is again a defunct body.
For the first time, both the sides in Europe accept that no one will interfere to altar the territorial status quo. When Russia annexed Crimea, it has been alleged that Russia violated Helsinki accord. In Helsinki, for the first time Eastern Block accepted the human rights.
During Detente, there was cooperation even in space. There was golden handshake between the astronauts in the space. There was some bilateral trade and USA provided wheat aid to Russia.
Although detente was a phase of relative peace, it was not a complete halt in nuclear arms race. The two countries started developing ICBMs, SLBM (Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile) and MIRVs (Multiple Independent Targetable Re-entry vehicles). The two countries continued proxy wars in South Asia, Middle East etc.
3rd Phase of cold war (1979-1989)
Ronald Regen came to power in USA. He called to end Detente. He initiated strategic defense initiative (SDI) known as Star Wars Project. USA started using Islamic insurgence in Afghanistan to topple the communist regime in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan was significant to maintain Soviet control over Central Asia, known as ‘soft belly of USSR’. Hence USSR had to send forces in Afghanistan. It marks the beginning of new cold war. It was more dangerous, less ideological, termed as unstable block system by Morton Kaplan.
By this time, Russian economy came in deep crisis. USA ensured that the prices of oil go down. On one hand USSR was involved in the war in Afghanistan, on other hand USA forced it in nuclear arms race. Economic crisis multiplied. USSR could not win war in Afghanistan. Ultimately Afghanistan became USSR’s Vietnam. USSR was forced to withdraw the forces. Even 10 years war could not defeat Afghan Mujahidin.
Why USSR was defeated? It could be only gorilla war which required air power. Air power of USSR was neutralized as USA provided stinger missiles (Surface to Air missiles). Ultimately in 1989 USSR withdrew, by this time it was clear that USSR will not be able to maintain its status as a superpower. It was evident in 1989 during Gulf War, there was no opposition from USSR which symbolized the beginning of unipolar world. There was change in the policy of India also. For the first time India allowed refueling of US planes directed towards Iraq. Iraq was a member of NAM and close friend of India.
The end of cold war / Collapse of USSR
Cold war denoted the bipolar world, USA and USSR were the two poles. Cold war denoted heightened state of tensions. The superpower had to rely on nuclear deterrence, cold war was a universal system in the sense it impacted all regions in the globe, based on universalist ideology (the two world views) and impacted almost every corner in the world.
Though there is a disagreement about the beginning and end and there is a fertile debate, over whether present state of relations can be called as cold war or not. Yet there was a formal declaration of the end of cold war in 1989 at Malta Summit when Soviet President Gorbachev and US President HW Bush declared the official end of cold war. Malta summit was followed with following developments.
1_START I Treaty in 1990.
2_Dissolution of Warsaw Pact 1991.
3_Cooperative Security Threat Agreement based on Nunn Lugar Act. Passed by US Senate 1991.
* The agreement aimed at removing the nuclear weapons and materials from the successor states of former USSR. Recently Russia has pulled out of the agreement.
4_Dec 1991. The formal declaration of the end of USSR and establishment of the commonwealth of the independent states comprising of 11 Republics.
Reasons for disintegration of USSR
There are three theories
1] USSR died its own death.
2] Policies of Gorbachev
3] Policies of erstwhile US president Ronald Reagan..
There is also a big question mark whether USA really won the cold war or whether, there was no winner of the war and USA only claims the victory.
Gorbachev became the president when USSR was already in the state of crisis. Russia has traditionally being ‘weak great power’.
1] Geopolitical compulsions
i) In order to survive, it has to expand. Ii) Internally it is not feasible to move food grains to different regions. Iii) USSR in order to maintain its geopolitical interest had to finance the authoritarian regimes. iv) USA ensured that USSR is unable to develop its external trade. v) It is geopolitical compulsion that USSR had to go for centralized economy. Centralized economy is always a supply side economy. Supply side economy can never be efficient as demand side economy. vi) There was a huge corruption in USSR which further increased the crisis. vii) USSR focused on producing defense goods, overlooked the consumer items. There emerged acute shortage of even basic goods.
2] Natural factors
USSR also suffered from natural calamities which aggravated the crisis. It suffered from famine, a massive earthquake and also nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. The combination of tragedies, corruption in administration, lack of sufficient resources resulted into a situation which created huge resentment among the people.
In order to maintain its superpower status, USSR had to make excessive military expenditures as well as to provide aid to its satellite allies and quasi-satellites. It is to be noted that influence of USSR was much bigger than USA however there were more weaker states in Soviet League whereas American Partners were economically strong core countries.
The type of economic and political system it had, there was no doubt that it cannot sustain long. It is a paradox that around the world people took the collapse of USSR as a huge shock.
3] Role of Gorbachev
Widely acknowledged as a instrumental factor, he was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, considering him responsible for the end of cold war. He was also recognized as person of the year by Times magazine.
It is to be noted that Gorbachev never wanted the collapse of USSR. He introduced certain reforms with the view that reforms will prevent the collapse. However the introduction of reforms proved counterproductive, perhaps, he ignored the advice of the famous political scholar Alex de Tocqueville, who held that, tyrannies collapse not when they are at their worst but when they tend to reform themselves.
Why tyrannies collapse then? Resentment against colonies keep on building. Even slight relaxation results into the burst of antagonism/grievances. (Pressure cooker syndrome). We should also not ignore that in politics the law of unintended consequences works most of the times.
What were Gorbachev’s policies and how they resulted into the collapse?
There were two set of policies. 1) Foreign policy and 2) Domestic policy.
1] Foreign policy (neighborhood policy) – towards the countries of eastern Europe.
What was traditional policy? Brezhnev doctrine – maintain tight control over peripheries.
What was Gorbachev’s doctrine? It is also known as Sinatra Doctrine, based on the song ‘My way’ by the famous singer Frank Sinatra. It allowed certain freedoms to peripheries to conduct their own foreign policy
2] Domestic policy.
Economic restructuring known as Perestroika. From a state controlled economy towards the open economy gradually.
However the reforms proved counter productive. It led to shortages of the necessary items, crony capitalism, looting of the resources of the state. It made the situations worst.
1st communism started collapsing in the periphery of USSR like in countries of Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria. Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe like house of cards.
Communism was not a choice of the people, it was imposed on them forcibly as Soviet Army was present in these states because of 2nd WW, which led USSR to install authoritarian govts.
Similarly communism started collapsing from the states within the empire. USSR was formed to protect Russia. It was a multi-ethnic confederation. Russians dominated over ethnic communities. There was a sort of internal colonialism. The resources of different republic were meant for the use of Russia. Hence there was huge resentment among the republics. Even at present, the vocal critics of Russia are the republics from within the empire and east European countries like Poland.
Role of Ronald Reagan (US President)
Regen followed the policy of beggar thy enemy.
1_Depression in oil prices.
2_Costly arms race (star war).
3_Proxy war in Afghanistan.
The event of such a magnitude cannot be associated with a single cause. Multiple factors in combination can be held responsible for the dissolution of USSR. We should not ignore the geopolitical fact, which is the destiny of Russia. To survive it has to expand, when it expands – it collapses.
Prominent developments during cold war.
Berlin Blockade was the 1st event in Europe.
However, it enhanced the prestige of USA. It was 1st and the last direct confrontation between superpowers in Europe, after which the theatre of cold war shifted to 3rd world countries.
In 1949, USSR acquired its own nuclear weapon. In response to assure its allies, USA established NATO, USA extended nuclear deterrence to European countries.
In 1955, West Germany was included in NATO. In response USSR formed Warsaw Pact in 1955, thus strategic bipolarity got established.
In 1961, Berlin wall was constructed overnight. The Berlin wall symbolized the division of Europe, also known as Iron Curtain.
[ * The phrase iron curtain was used for the first time by Winston Churchill in his Fulton speech. In his speech he declared the emergence of Iron Curtain in Europe symbolizing cold war. He held that Iron Curtain has descended in Europe from Stettin in Baltics. to Trieste in the Adriatic.]
In 1989, when Berlin wall was dismantled, it symbolized the end of cold war in Europe.
2] Asia Pacific Region.
Historically also, Asia Pacific has been very attractive for USA’s commercial interest. We see more active containment policies.
1] Victory of Communism in China enhanced the prestige of USSR and has shown the failure of containment. USA’s influence got limited to the island of Taiwan.
2] Korean Crisis.
In Korea, USA was successful only partially in containment of communism. Korean peninsula got divided at 38th parallel. It continues to suffer from the legacy of cold war even today.
After Korean crisis, USA formed SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization) or Manilla Pact. Member countries: US, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan.
3] Vietnam war.
20 years war from 1955-1975.
Domino theory. If one country will fall to communism, others are bound to fall. Hence the then US president Eisenhower went for active containment. USA even used chemical weapon known as Agent Orange. However USA could not roll back communism even partially also. The communist forces could integrate Vietnam. Vietnam war led to the weakening of US hegemony. It impacted USA’s economic conditions. It led to the breakdown of Bretton Woods system. By this time dollar became overvalued. It impacted US exports. By this time Europe and Japan also recovered, started challenging its economic hegemony. It led USA to make dollar ‘free floating currency’. This even is called as Nixon Shock. It also led to the establishment of G7 group.
3] Cold War in Middle East.
1] Establishment of Israel in 1948, USA’s outpost in Mediterranean.
2] 1955 Middle East Defense Organization (CENTO pact). USA, UK, France, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq.
3] 1956 Suez crisis. Impact: It marks the end of British Hegemony. It established that now USA and USSR will determine the global events.
4] Cold War in Latin America.
1] Monroe doctrine. Isolation of USA from world affairs but safeguarding USA’s regional hegemony. USA will not allow any external power in its backyard. But unfortunately USA could not prevent the expansion of communism in its own backyard.
2] Cuban Missile Crisis 1962.
The most dangerous event of the cold war, there was a fear of nuclear war. The tensions reached to a point that it needed to go for relaxation of tensions. Hence we see the beginning of the other phase of cold war i.e. Detente phase.
3] Detente phase.
Consequences of cold war.
1] Nuclear Arms Race.
2] Paralysis of UN.
3] Emergence of NAM.
4] Proxy wars in 3rd world countries.
5] Arms race in 3rd world countries.
6] Armed peace in Europe.
7] Formation of military blocks.
However for realist scholars like Kenneth Waltz and Mearsheimer, it was most stable state. It is said that local conflicts remained subdued under the fear of Armageddon.
Consequences of end of cold war.
Though there is lack of consensus about the end of cold war, yet if we take the end of cold war with the dissolution of USSR we can say that it has led to the emergence of following trends.
1_Instead of cold war world order, the liberal world order became global.
2_Initially there was a hope that United Nations will gain relevance, but it could not happen that way.
3_It has raised a big question mark on the relevance of non aligned movement.
4_It was expected that the new world order will be a much better world but it ended up becoming more dangerous world.
1] Clash of ideologies gave rise to clash of civilizations.
2] The rise of non-state actors.
3] According to John Lewis Gaddis, USA has created more challenges, new world order has led only to the diffusion of the threats. It is much more difficult for USA to maintain the order.
4] The end of cold war, marks the beginning of the new rivalry. Now the policy of containment shifted towards rising China.
5] The end of cold war necessitated change in the foreign policies of almost all states.
6] We cannot say that the world has become a better place, we are living in more dangerous world.
7] It is said that disintegration of USSR brought windfall gains to China. It gave opportunity to create Sino-centric world.
8] China also learnt the lesson that authoritarian regimes will collapse if they will go for introducing political reforms. China became more totalitarian.
Cold War 2.0
There is a lack of consensus among scholars whether the present state of relations can be called as Cold War 2.0? e.g. According to Stephen Walt -to call current state of the relations as new cold war is highly misleading rather than enlightening.
Cold war was a bipolar system, two superpowers had rough parity, there was intense competition, political and ideological rivalry, global in nature, waged on every front, punctuated by intense nuclear crisis and arms race.
Stephen Walt gives following arguments.
1] The world is not bipolar, rather lopsided multipolar.
2] There is no parity between USA and Russia. If USA is Godzilla, Russia is Bambi. The size of Russian economy is $2 tn and that of US economy is $ 20 tn.
3] Russia does not have ideological appeal and soft power at par with USSR.
4] The competition is not global, confined to few theatres. Primarily in Russia’s neighbourhood or in middle east.
5] There is a bigger concern for USA today which comes from rising China. It shows the laziness of the strategic community to call US Russia relations as cold war 2.0, it is misleading because it will push policymakers to focus on Russia as a priority and ignoring Chinese threat.
6] It is said that cold war is a nostalgic generalistic term, which should be used with extreme caution.
Michael Cofman. (Expert at Wilson center.)
He also does not agree to call present state of relations as cold war. The reason is Russia is no match to the image of USSR. Russia is facing its own survival crisis. Russia is actually a declining regional power. The problem with USA is the feeling of ‘enemy deprivation’. It may be a reason that US policymakers are looking for the simple threat ignoring the real challenge or diverting attention from China.
The scholars of Carnegie Endowment for Peace.
Dmitri Trenin believe that we are in the state of cold war. Similaraly Alexei Arbatov has given following arguments to support that the present state of relations is very similar.
1_There is a high level of mutual suspcision.
2_Communism is not relevant, yet USA should not ignore the power of the Russian orthodox nationalism, which is gaining huge popularity even the countries of western Europe.
3_Putin is a master of ambiguity. In response to the question ‘Where the borders of Russia end?’, his response was “Nowhere’. It is enough indication of the expansionist desires. Russia has its own national image, it has its own metaphysical mentality, a cultural identity which will not allow Russia to compromise.
West should not forget that Putin considers the collapse of USSR as the biggest geopolitical disaster. He also held that anyone who does not feel pain of the collapse of USSR does not have heart whereas those who want to rebuild USSR do not have mind. It is enough indication of Putin’s pragmatism. He has thrown ball in the court of west.
According to Alexei Arbatov.
1_There is a new cycles of US Russia arms race.
2_There is a possibility of military confrontation from baltic to black sea. From arctic to asia pacific.
3_We should not ignore that Cuban Missile crisis brought the world on the brink of nuclear war. Cuban missile crisis was not a planned aggression. Certain events may take up the situation of war. We should not ignore the situations which is building in middle east or eastern Europe.
4_USA is continuing with the old policy. 1) Isolation. 2) Containment. 3) Dismantling economy. 4) Devaluing nuclear capabilities.
Though he finds similarities, yet he believes that ‘history does not repeat itself as a blueprint of the past. There are some changes also like Rise of Polycentric world, growth of interdependence, the rise of Islamic extremism, Climate change.
It is believed that there is a acknowledgement in USA that China is a bigger threat. There is a nervousness in both, Washington and Moscow about the rising China. However there is a lack of domestic consensus for political reason within USA towards Trump’s approach towards Putin. The political class in USA is manipulating the legacy of cold war, the deep animosity towards Russia found in American Public to fulfill their political aspirations.
Developments After Cold War
1995 – NATO bombing in Bosnia. Bosnia Herzegovina. What was the indication of NATO bombing? 1. The first operation of NATO for protection of human rights. 2. Russia knew that it will have implications for the security in the regions in Caucasus i.e. in Chechnya. West had already started supporting the war for independence in Chechnya. Caucasus remains most important because of oil resources.
1996 – The negotiation for CTBT started.
1997 – Russia was included in G7, making it G8.
1] NATO’s expansion eastward to include Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic. Russia is concerned about eastward expansion. According to Russian officials, at the time of end of cold war, then Russia agreed for the merger of east germany with west, there was an agreement between US and Russia that there will be no expansion of NATO eastwards.
2] 2nd NATO bombing. This time in Kosovo. This was unilateral action, not supported by UNSC. Here also the justification was the protection of the rights of minorities Albanian Muslims, another indication to provoke insurgency in Chechnya. West recognized the independence of Kosovo.
So far Russia does not recognize the independence. Even India does not recognize the independence of Kosovo because of Kashmir factor.
3] In 1999, Putin became the Prime Minister. In his speech to Russian duma (PL) he held that Russia is capable of protecting its legitimate zones. Russia is going to seek its rightful place, Russia will not allow its opinion to be ignored. Later on Putin became president of Russia.
Putin’s actions as a president of Russia
Nationalization of Oil and Gas – Russia accepted shock therapy proposed by west, however it made the situation of Russia worse. Western companies started looting Russian resources. Between 1992 – 1998, Russian economy saw an average decline of 6.8% per annum. When Putin came to power, Russian economy started growing at the rate of 6.9% per year, this growth had sustained between 1998 – 2008, resulting into the accumulation of huge foreign exchange. The state of Russian economy was not acceptable to US. In 2008, Global financial crisis started. It started impacting not only Eurozone but also BRICS economies. In 2010, to weaken Russia further, USA imposed sanctions on Russian economy on the ground of Human Rights violation in Russia. USA also ensured that global oil prises remain low. Hence on one hand Russia will not be able to export oil or to earn much on oil, but when sanctions remain, Russia will not be able to diversify its economy. Because of sanctions, Russia will not get foreign investment, which is needed to rebuild its industries. Hence Russia continues to be dependent on 1) Oil exports and 2) Arms exports. Even exports of arms require investment for research and development.
* At present Russia gets huge investments from Qatar.
USA imposed sanctions against Russia’s oil sector and forced EU countries also. USA didn’t want economic interdependence to grow between Russia and Germany, the old geopolitics, preventing the integration of Eurasia.
1| US president declared Iran, Iraq and North Korea as axis of evil. Enough indication that US will go for war against any of the country in middle east. Why cause of concern for Russia? 1) Any war in middle east will destabilize middle east, will give opportunity to non-state actors to come to power. It will have direct implication for Russia’s Cacasus region affected by Islamic insurgency. With war in Afghanistan, USA already started de-stabilization in central Asia. Central Asia and South Caucasus are interlinked territorially. Up till very recently Russia had monopoly over the oil and gas exports from Central Asia, as all pipelines go through Russia.
2| USA unilaterally withdrew from anti ballistic missile treaty. What are the implications? 1_If USA withdraws from Habian treaty, USA disturbs the nuclear balance. 2_ It will force Russia into nuclear arms race to maintain balance. What was argument of USA? US will be deploying the theatre missile weapons. (Short range) in Poland and Czech Republic to protect its allies from the threats emerging from the rogue states. (Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea). What are rogue states? 1_Which aim to acquire weapons of mass destruction. 2_Which create nuisance for the neighbours e.g. Iran for Israel.
USA’s unilateral war against Iraq. It was not approved by UNSC. Both Russia and European countries knew that the war will have negative consequences for their stability. What reason USA gave? Saddam Hussain is acquiring weapons of mass destruction. What was the actual intention? USA knows the demography of Iraq. It will open the pandora box in middle east.
Between 2003-2004, USA orchestrated coloured revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, Kirgizstan.
2004 – another expansion of NATO. This time to include Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovakia.
2007 – NATO summit proposed inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia. At the doorstep of Russia.
2007 – Putin’s speech at Munich security council. In a way seen as a declaration of start of New Cold war. Putin warn USA, don’t overstep.
Same year Russia announced that it will withdraw from treaty on conventional forces in Europe and INF treaty.
2008 – Russia intervened in Georgia, declared the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. What is the significance? 1) It was Russia’s answer to West’s action in Kosovo.
2008 – West could not take any concrete action against Putin in support of Georgia. Russia also takes the advantage of the Russians living in these breakaway states. Georgian crisis made the relations extremely tense. USA installed two state missile interceptors on the territory of Poland. Russia planned to install Iskander short range missile at Kaliningrad, Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. Russia forced Lithuania to provide corridor to Russia to reach its state.
2009 – Reset. When Obama came to power, he tried to reset the relations. Why? Obama needed Russian support 1) In Afghanistan (Northern distribution network). 2) To control the nuclear programme of Iran and North Korea. Russian support was needed so that security council can impose sanctions against these countries. Reset resulted into New Start treaty, which will expire in 2021. One of the reason for Helsinki summit was agreement on successor treaty. New Start treaty puts limitations on number of deployed nuclear weapons. Even Helsinki summit was a way to find out the solution for the uncertainity which emerged because of the allegations against each other for violation of INF treaty.
INF treaty aimed at ensuring the stability in Europe. It prevents the deployment of Intermediate range Nuclear missiles. There has been allegation that Russia is developing the shorter range version of Iskander missile, Russia accuses USA for utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as a alternative to short range missiles.
INF treaty is a bilateral agreement. At present China is fast developing short and medium range missiles. One reason to come out is – to re-negotiate the treaty so that China also becomes part of it.
2011 – NATO bombing in Libya.
2012 – The beginning of crisis in Syria. The end of reset.
Countries found themselves at opposite ends. Crisis in Syria is called as the typical example of nature of post cold war conflicts. Example of complex interdependence.
In Syria both USA and Russia are fighting against ISIS.
However Russia supports govt. of Syria while US supports rebels in Syria.
Russia supports Iran and Hezbollah, US supports Saudi.
Saudi is against Iran, both are against ISIS.
Saudi supports Kurds.
Turkey plays zigzags.
2014 – Euromaidan movement in Ukraine
US accused Russia for violation of INF treaty.
Russia expressed anger at USA’s deployment of Aegis Ashore Missile weapons in Romania.
2015 – Russia militarily intervened in Syria.
2016 – Russia comes out of Plutonium disposition agreement.
2016 – Trump’s election and allegations of Russia’s intrusion in the elections.
2017 – The first meeting between Trump and Putin at G20 summit. Discussion on Syria and Ukraine. (July 2017). Nov 2017 – Second meeting at APEC summit, Vietnam.
Dec 2017 – National Security Strategy released by Trump administration. It explicitly mentions Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as enemies of USA.
Feb 2018 – Nuclear posture review released by USA. It again targets Russia, USA will develop credible deterrence against any sort of aggression. It denotes the decision to further strengthen missile defence, deny the advantage of nuclear first use to Russia.
US dept. of defence has authorised the funding for the program.
2018 Summit at Helsinki – No agenda was published for discussion and no communique was issued. There was huge resentment against Trump.
2018 – Imposition of sanctions against Russia. Trump had to give ascent to CAATSA (Counteracting America’s… ) They are expected to meet at G20 summit, scheduled to be held on 30th Nov 2018 at Argentina.
List of Russia’s grievances in new cold war
Expansion of NATO eastwards.
Expansion of EU eastwards.
Coloured revolutions in Russian near abroad.
USA’s policies in middle east.
US involvement in domestic affairs.
What are USA’s grievances?
Poor Human Rights in Russia.
Russia is not a democracy.
Putin is dictator.
The development of Russia is being hampered because of Putin’s protectionist policies.
Putin terrorizes Europe, supports rogue states and does not not observe the rule of law.