Focus Magazine has recently published an interview with Hans-Henning Schroeder, the chairman of the research group for Russia at the Berlin-based Institute for International and Security Affairs.
The expert believes that the newly elected president of the United States seems to be a better partner for Russia at first sight. Barack Obama, Schroeder said, would definitely not be offending the Russians the way the Bush’s administration did. However, the expert added, Obama’s skilful politics could be even more dangerous for Russia. Obama has very good chances to retrieve the USA’s erstwhile international influence. Russia attempted to make a threat in return for the USA with its promise to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, although Dmitry Medvedev has already made a step back when he said that Russia could deploy the missiles, but had nothing against negotiations.
Obama should not repeat Bush’s mistakes under such circumstances, the expert said. Putin opened Russia’s air space for the United States after the 9/11 attacks to let the US troops fly to Afghanistan. However, the USA did not give credit to Russia for that and thus made the Russian administration look like silly little boys.
The arrogant foreign politics of the United States, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the expansion of NATO have made Moscow approach America as a threat again, the expert believes.
When Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama meet for their first official meeting, Medvedev will obviously try to switch Obama’s attention from missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to an opportunity of the international defense system. In return, Moscow could offer its partnership in the talks to slowdown the Iranian nuclear program. The whole matter could also develop into the talks to control nuclear arms on the whole, the German exert said.
In addition, the former republics of the Soviet Union can take greater efforts to integrate themselves with the West when Obama takes the office. Needless to say that Russia will not tolerate US troops near its borders. As for short-term forecasts about US-Russian relations, the expert said that the Russian president was ready to cooperate with the USA, whereas his American counterpart would have a different approach to international responsibility.