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DOES RUSSIA NEED THE ROLE OF A BALANCE WHEEL IN THE SYSTEM OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

Дата публикации: 09 июня 2016
Автор: Dmitri Trenin
Публикатор: Александр Павлович Шиманский
Рубрика: RUSSIA (TOPICS)
Источник: (c) Беларусь в мире, 01-01-99
Номер публикации: №1465464653 / Жалобы? Ошибка? Выделите проблемный текст и нажмите CTRL+ENTER!


Dmitri Trenin, (c)

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Dmitri Trenin Moscow Carnegie Centre, Deputy Director
Today President Gorbachev said that before March 24 this year the world was quite different from what it has became now. I think that a very important event took place, which can become a beginning of a watershed. However, I agree with Sergey Rogov that it is too early to draw conclusions. I think that everything has just begun. It is clear now that many things are not clear. Now, the uncertainty in Russia's upper circles and in the Russian society has grown.

Consensus, which is talked on so much, has been reached only with respect to condemnation of bombings of Yugoslavia. But this unanimity reflects only the most upper layer of what is going on. Further down there is a lot of other layers and some of these are "overlapping". Many things are seen with bare eye. Take, for example, the press conference of the Russian Foreign Minister, at the beginning of which he vigorously condemns "aggressors" and concludes with referring to them as "partners". In reality he speaks about the same group of states. The common sense presupposes that aggressor cannot be a partner - this can be either one or the other way. It means that Russia, which from the very beginning assumed a very sharp critical tone, does not shut the door for co-operation and partnership.

In today?s discussion the other interesting contradiction was made visible during one speech. I mean the words on how we shall assess NATO?s and US?s actions. Is it part of the plan aimed at establishing domination over the world, or Pax Americana, in the 21st century? Or is it a mistake - tragic, horrible mistake? Here we get no clear answer.

Now many talk persuasively about the primacy of law in international relations. Sometimes it looks like hypocrisy. Russia, like the United States, is a country, in which most of the political elite follow principles of political realism. The matter is not that in Belarus and in Russia the state sovereignty is clearly put before human rights. The matter is that political expediency is still prevailing. Humanitarian disaster in Kosovo has not been result of NATO?s bombings.

A lot is said about the role of international organisations. But these organisations are not independent participants in international relations. When people say about stopping dialogue with NATO and, at the same time, argue that a dialogue with the European Union should be developed, questions arise. The main partners of Russia in Europe are Germany and France. But these very countries are among the most active participants of the NATO?s Balkans operation.

We also say that events in Yugoslavia have led to consolidation of the Russian public around some emerging national idea. If the elements of Slavic ideology and Slavic fraternity, Slavic unity and Orthodox Church community are put into the basis of this national idea, then we undermine Russia?s statehood. And we cannot but understand it.

Yugoslavian crisis is a very strong blow, which made many things less clear and, thus, brought about more uncertainty. And now really a lot of things remain suspended.

In Russia, no national interests have been formed yet. This is a core reason for the current reaction by the elite and public opinion to the events in Yugoslavia. Russia?s political class, which is to formulate and articulate national interests, has not been formed and consolidated yet. Perhaps, this will not be formed for a long time. Therefore, one cannot expect that Russia?s national interests will be defined in the near future.

Russia has two possible ways to follow. It can either help its partners - I emphasise this term - to correct enormous mistake they have made, their terrible miscalculation, which resulted from self- complacency and arrogance. Here we should realise that we hardly can expect appreciation for correction of the mistake.

The second way for Russia is to return to confrontation. It looks as if it were easy to do: there are tested models. Though, a lot of questions arise here.

In other words, Russia has two directions of its further development. Either integration with Europe and entry into the world economy through the development of, first of all, economic, cultural, trade ties and so on. For this direction the key word is "partnership". Or we come back to the position of containment of the West. But here we have to realise that in the new mechanism of balance of power Russia cannot be anything but a balance wheel in confrontation between real centres of power. The country that accounts for just one percent of the world?s gross product cannot claim - irrespective of its potential wealth - the role of a real centre of power.

Опубликовано 09 июня 2016 года




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