The Russian government never likes to learn. Practice has proved it so many times – one has to be really cautious in the relations with Americans. One has to listen to what they say, but Russian officials still sing a song in America’s glory. They all hope to get something from it.
Russia perceives the USA as its key partner. This was said by the Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref. So what? Russia can feel the same about Zanzibar too, but the economic gains of the latter will not be increased even a bit because of that.
The summit between Russia and the USA in Houston is over. The business trip of the Russian delegation was in vain. Instead of investments, Russia got just a piece of paper, which was signed by four ministers. Was there anything bigger to expect?
In the meantime, the results of the Russian-American “partnership” are showing. Iraqi Deputy Minister for Oil, said today that Iraq was going to increase the crude output up to six million barrels a day, instead of the planned four million. Needless to mention that Iraqi is doing its best in order to avoid the American and British intervention. This will be the last intervention in the history of the Persian Gulf. The Arab world is being rather serious about a possible scenario of Russia’s competition in the field of oil. Russia decided for itself that it could be a large gambler on the oil market, so the resources for the increase of the crude output could be found without American investments. In addition to that, the USA has been using this “Russian factor” in its relations with other crude exporters.
Colin Powell did not forget to mention that George Bush’s administration understands Russia’s wish to keep its leading positions in the Iraqi oil industry. Powell stated that the USA was well-aware of the interests of the countries in the region, as well as of the consequences that might follow the change of Saddam Hussein’s regime. If Americans make Saddam go, then there will be no one amid Russian oil companies to control the Iraqi oil. Texas and Alabama guys will do it all instead.
The USA has been having its own way. The States needs to get at least a silent consent from Russia for the intervention in Iraq. Even if Russia keeps silence, the conversation with other members of the UN Security Council (China and France) will be a lot different. That is why Colin Powell connects Russia’s consent with a possible lifting of the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Constitution (the amendment cut Russian companies from accessing American markets).
However, American politicians think that another promise from the American secretary might not have any effect at all. They believe that Russians start getting nervous over the withdrawal of the mentioned amendment. Furthermore, this Jackson-Vanik thing always comes up, when the USA wants something from Russia really badly. America always promises to lift the amendment, but it is still there for some reason.
By the way, Russia and America have gotten a lot closer to each other owing to the concessions on Russia’s part only. President Putin agreed with the deployment of American army bases in the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. Putin did not go hysterical about the USA’s pulling out from the ABM Treaty of 1972. Putin did not mind Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia’s idea to join NATO. Putin ordered to shut down Soviet army bases in Cuba and Vietnam, because American “partners” asked so. In return, the USA acknowledged Russia a country with the market economy, and promised $300 million of loans to Russian oil companies. That’s it. Not much, indeed.
American analysts are right – Russian politicians and economic figures are getting more and more annoyed with such state of things. This definitely shows great influence on Russia’s position regarding Iraq. The USA is coming to the realization of that, slowly, but surely.
The USSR’s policy was reasonable and weighted, despite its all disadvantages. The state was doing its best to achieve its goals. All that has been completely ruined. There are no goals, no priorities, no ways to achieve those goals. It is hilarious to say that Russia’s main goal is to become the USA’s ally in the world and to sell more oil and gas to it. It is obvious, that neither the USA, nor Russia need that. A classic said, “Politics is the art of the possible.” It would be a lot better for Russia to deal with possible things now.