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US Foreign Policy with Russia Essay

If the United States needed to get rid of Russia form inside out then it could have come up with a more strategic policy than the so called “strategic relationship/partnership” From several aggressive foreign policies to miss leaded advice and undemocratic pressure pending, the US government has brought in some fraction of the so called “cold war”. Restraint remains fundamental to the United States policy with Russia.

For instance on the foreign policy with Russia, restraint Lite is comprised of three major efforts to cut off Russia from Europe, from it neighboring countries and most fundamental from the international community at large (MacLean, G. A. 2006). The geopolitical pluralism policy which came in with the Clinton’s administration was meant to reinforce Russia’s key neighbors i. e. Kazakhstan and Ukraine has lead to the loosening of the confederation of the post-Soviet states.

So as to deepen the split which separates Russia from the rest of Europe and to enhance the creation of a new steel curtain down in the midst of Eurasia, the US is pushing ahead wildly the expansion of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) by not consulting Russia in several foreign policies e. g. the bombing of Iraq and the similar policy on Yugoslavia. Washington has tried to maneuver Moscow to a diplomatic backdrop through which it can only have a small influence globally.

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Part of the so called “soft” containment policy of United States is meant to get rid of Russia’s last state of superpower status and its nuclear weapon store without giving enough funding for mothballing the arms and also without matching the US stock supplies. By implementing the missile shield defense system, the US has jeopardize several arm treaties through opposing major sales of the Russian’s military technology, by arguing that the sale of these arms may lead to proliferation of arms while the US itself continues selling these arms thus applying double standards.

Through a largest increase in the military budget since the ending of the cold war, the Clinton’s government started 1999 with a clear indication that Russians decline will have very little effects to the pentagon. While implementing Russian’s initial market reforms, Yeltsin foresaw that good times were coming, that was back in 1992. These good times that Yeltsin foresaw retreated more and more into the distance (mostly after the catastrophe of the August 1998 when the fragments went to free drop which led to Moscow defaulting on its capital debts (MacLean, G.

A. 2006). Today, Russia’s GDP is half what it used to be a decade ago. The economy is suffocating with $150 billion in overseas debt. Employees are paid in-kind if they are paid at all, The degree of Poverty is rampant, Life expectancy is worsening, the population is diminishing, and Russia is sinking to a third world class (Hearst, D. 2008). Economic change in Russia has not only been unsuccessful, it has been extremely undemocratic.

By collaborating almost entirely with Boris Yeltsin and his hand-picked “strategists” and circumventing Russia’s generally elected administration, the Duma the Clinton government placed expediency, transparency, over accountability and the checks and balances of a real democratic system. International community invested billions of dollars into Russia, funds that didn’t filter down but was instead sidetracked into the pockets of a few selected people. Under its cold war restraint policy, the United States relied on hostile rhetoric and military power to confront the influential Soviet Union.

By dissimilarity, today’s restraint Lite takes advantage of Russia’s military and economic weakness, at first glimpse, has depended more on carrots than sticks. In actuality, however, the United States has wielded these carrots to a great extent like cudgels. Washington’s investments and aid expert advice, and high-profile seminars are designed to decrease the diplomatic and military reach of its former superpower opponent and to remake the Russian wealth in the neoliberal image in spite of of the social costs. prod by these carrots, Russia is stirring towards a path that has led to fiscal chaos and escalating hatred.

The Clinton government was acutely aware of the danger of a Russian implosion. Yet the government came up with policies that are relentlessly leading to the realization of its own most horrible fears. The Roots of U. S. Policies In the 20th century, U. S. policy with Russia fluctuated between hostile confrontation and concise attempts at detente. During these particular eras, Reagan and Truman were twisted on containing Russia and, if possible, undulating its influence in the third world countries and Eastern Europe.

President Nixon, without compromising his anticommunism, was able to ease the tension West and East in the 1970s with a combination of arms control procedures and modest openings in the East for Western trade. During the cold war period, confrontation and engagement frequently followed one another with little inhalation room, as in Kennedy’s near-apocalyptic face-off with Khrushchev over Cuba in 1962 which was followed by the negotiation of the first main arms control accord with the Soviet Union in 1963. Whether in altercation or detente mode, whichever, successive U. S.

government sought (often unsuccessfully) to limit Soviet power in the world and blunt the impact of socialism/communism. Starting in 1985, when the Russia started a complex dance of reforms and decline, the Bush and Reagan governments did a little to encourage the former and much to make haste the latter. Washington gradually came around to supporting perestroika and glasnost rhetorically. But during this time, the U. S. largely suspended economic support for perestroika while at the same time continuing to maintain high levels of armed forces spending and provoking rhetoric.

From the year 1989-1991(the Soviet’s terminal stage) Washington switched to break control mode in order to pressure the Soviet Union to support German, protect the newly independent states of Eastern Europe, unification, and prevent a clash from flaring up due to the secession of the Baltic States ( MacLean, G. A. 2006). In the year 1992, after the official crumple of the Soviet Union, the new Russian President Boris Yeltsin brought in a “honeymoon” time with the United States. Yeltsin and those in support of Western foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev, went on to follow the U.

S. economic reform, lead on arms control and universal politics. The other presidents of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) such as Georgia’s Eduard Shevardnadze, Ukraine’s Leonid Kravchuk, and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbaev—also followed suit, each contending for the favors and affections of the United States. In return, the U. S. promised to assist Russia and the other CIS states integrate into the international economy and later, through the joint venture for Peace, into European security status. The honeymoon period did not take long.

Russia never acknowledged the Marshall Plan it had anticipated for. Nor did the U. S. administration make room at the world’s platform for the new Russian body. This resulted to the pro-Western division in the Russian foreign policy founding, lost influence and Russian national attention became the new organizing principle for the Yeltsin team. The devastating 1994 invasion of Chechnya, the refusal to sanction the latest strategic arms reduction agreement, and the enriching of relations with, Iran, Iraq and Serbia signified a change in Russian policy.

For its part, the US government maintained support for Yeltsin personally, but slowly withdrew from close bilateral associations. Washington strengthened dealings with the other CIS nations to balance Russian power in the region and to cover its bets. As Sergei Rogov, who was the head of Moscow’s, Canada and U. S Institute, remarked that the U. S. administration’s rhetoric toward Russia has changed from “intentional partnership” to “pragmatic partnership” to “rational partnership” to just plain pragmatism aimed at minimizing the impact of Russia’s economic and military fallout on the world at large.

The relationship is gone, and the change in rhetoric is reflected very concretely in a range of issues from security aspects to economics and to politics. There was a time when Russia was the worry of U. S. foreign policy intelligence agencies and analysts. Since the 1950s, the Soviet Union underwrote ant colonial revolts all over the third world and provided essential aid to countries such as Cuba, Angola, Syria and India. Today, Russia’s magnitude has dwindled significantly. It no longer plays a role in the third world countries. It has little influence in Eastern Europe.

Closer to home, it has kept certain ambitions such as maintaining the integrity of its own region and to keep its influence in its neighboring countries such as, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia. Russia’s ambitions outstrip its ability, as seen in the losses in Chechnya and peacekeeping downfall in the neighboring countries. Sources have reveled that the Russian armed forces is in dire state the number of its soldiers has reduced by a quarter in 1998, its weapons systems are in a worsening condition, and few finances available to acquire new weapons.

Research reveal that it was estimated that by the year 2005 only 5-7% of equipments used by Russians armed forces will be new and the US State Departments admit that the Russian military combat promptness is in bad shape. The drive of the army is even worse now than at the era of the Chechen campaign. As for Russia’s capability to project force past its borders, little Estonia in recent times declared that its Russian neighbor was no longer a military risk Even its nuclear weapon store, the single card that maintain Russia in the game, is weakening rapidly. The U. S.

mainly through NATO expansion is making gains of this weakness. NATO was intended to deter the expansion of Soviet into Europe. The Soviet Union is no longer there, and Russia badly wants to join Europe and not invade it. Up till now even without an enemy in prospect, NATO is heading right up to Russia’s door. In April 1999, Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary joined NATO and became NATO’s first new members ever since Spain in 1982. There are fifteen countries which now belong to the Partnership for Peace program, which is a halfway entry house for NATO aspirants who need help in modernizing their armed forces.

Almost every country in the former Soviet Union bloc supports the expansion of NATO, partially because of NATO’s own hard line public relations campaign and partially as an initial step toward joining the EU (European Union). Throughout the ups and downs of Russian – U. S. associations in the 1990s, Russia has measured NATO expansion as a purposeful provocation, particularly when extension has potentially included the Baltic States and the Ukraine. The responses that the U. S. gave Russia were of two initiatives. First, it extended relationship to Russia in the PFP program.

Then, promising a “unique relationship,” NATO concluded an agreement with Moscow in May 1997 that recognized various mechanisms of talks. The agreement doesn’t give either party the right to sanction the actions of the other. But via the Permanent Joint Council, the two sides at least meet often. Another task to the future and current reductions in strategic arms is the US government’s desire to modify or even scuttle the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) accord in order to give way to a new national missile security system.

The US administration favors “adjustment”, but opponents such as influential US Senators have called for scrapping the accord. The Pentagon apparently offered Moscow a worrying quid pro quo on the ABM treaty: if the Russians look the other way as the U. S. develops a missile defense shield system, then Washington will permit Russia to deploy new deliberate missiles with three warheads. While at peace with each other, the two countries are ironically moving away from the control of arms and toward arms expansion. In the meantime, the lion’s share of the U.

S. support to Russia is aimed towards the control and dismantling of its arms, much of it via the Cooperative Threat Reduction program. This means that a cash-strapped Russia must pay for its own humbling, and the disarmament process is regrettably slowed (Hearst, D. 2008).


Gorodetsky, G. (2003). Russia Between East and West. Moscow: Routledge. Hearst, D. (2008). US foreign policy on Russia has vacillated wildly, from indulgence to overt aggression. Will Obama get Russia right? Gurdian , 26-33. International, C. E. (2000).U. S. -Russian Relations at the Turn of the Century. Moscow: Carnegie Endowment. MacLean, G. A. (2006). Clinton’s Foreign Policy in Russia. Florida: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. Marsden, L. (2005). Lessons from Russia. Michigan: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. Russia and U. S. Foreign Policy, Available from http://tcarter. blogspot. com/2004/12/russia-and-us-foreign-policy. html (Retrieved 26th November 26, 2008) US Foreign Policy with Russia, Available from http://www. fpif. org/papers/russia/index. html (Retrieved 26th November 26, 2008)

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