US-Russia Relations in 2030: Goals, Prospects and Pathways

White House

US-Russia Relations in 2030: Goals, Prospects and Pathways

Dmitry Suslov
National Research University - Higher School of Economics

This working paper introduces analysis offered by Dmitry Suslov at the University Consortium's Annual Conference, hosted by HSE from 30 September - 1 October 2016.

1. The current US-Russian confrontation [has persisted] for a good long while. It has systemic rather than conjunctural roots. Professor Robert Legvold is right calling the current US-Russian relations a «new Cold War» pointing to its systemic nature.

2. With the advent of the new US administration the US-Russian confrontation is likely to aggravate further, no matter the outcomes of the 2016 presidential elections. It will be very difficult to overcome systemic causes of confrontation (different understanding of the basic norms and rules of international relations and international order, the US desire to restore the world order established in 1990s but which started crumbling in the 2000s). Therefore, in the coming years we need to focus above all on managing the confrontation and preventing its further escalation.

2.1. In the next few decades, not just years, the US is going to struggle for keeping their «global leadership» (as they saw it since the end of the Cold War) and strengthening of the «US-led liberal international order» despite the fact that both are less and less consistent with the trends of global development. To part with the illusion of the «end of history» is hard and painful, especially just after a quarter century after the grandiose and seemingly final victory of 1989-1992. American vision of the «right» international order does not meet the Russian vision of a «fair» one, and it excludes Russia as an independent center of a multipolar world, as the gravity center in Eurasia taking a “rightful place” in world politics. Russia, on its part, will not give up the strategy of positioning itself as an independent center of power, which runs its own regional projects and participates in global decision-making on equal terms.

2.2. Both Russia and the United States see each other as declining powers that are on «the wrong side of the history» and therefore doomed to a historic defeat. This mutual perception minimizes political will on both sides to search for a compromise and overcome the confrontation...

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