US-Russian strategic partnership is so much discussed in the west and less – in Russia. However, the partnership is to be considered from a different point of view because of the recent actions of the US administration (withdrawal from the ABM Treaty of 1972, founding of the US military bases in Central Asia, threats in the address of Iraq, North Korea and Iran, and, finally, arrival of the US servicemen to Georgia.
Russia needs America, still it is not clear, whether the USA needs Russia as well. Such strategic partnership reminds me of a game into one goal, to put it in a language of football players. Indeed, Russia is referred to for consultations and recommendations, but the USA always does everything its own way. Over the last 5,5 months Americans managed to complete what they have been failing to do within the past half a century. Congratulations, Mr.Bush, you have got smart advisers!
The US president did not expect he would be such a success when he launched the anti-terrorism war. The US troops were expected to be stuck in Afghanistan, like the Soviet Union had done some time ago. However, the apprehensions were not justified: the Talib regime has been destroyed, the US troops are stationed in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, bin Laden is running about like a mad man in searches for a safe refuge. At first, George Bush was disappointed with it, but arguments of his wise advisors demonstrated, every cloud had a silver lining. The Al Qaeda leader is more useful for America being at large, not imprisoned or killed. The USA has been originally operating with a humanitarian motto: it protected the rights and freedoms all over the world. But now America is protecting the world from terrorists. At the very dawn of the anti-terrorist operation George Bush mentioned that Al Qaeda activity was revealed in 60 countries of the world. It seems to be a world-scale octopus. It means, it will take a lot of time to struggle with the international terrorism.
US taxpayers dislike long wars, and it would be more natural for them to be displeased with the US administration’s plans. Nevertheless, none of the kind has been stated so far. The explanation for such a reaction of the American people is clear: first of all, the war is going on outside the US territory, that, in its turn, makes any conflict with participation of the US troops less interesting for ordinary Americans. This also happens against the background of triumphant relations from the battle front and TV reports, according to which the US troops are always the winners. Civilians get disturbed by deaths of American soldiers only. It is still difficult for the USA to get rid of the Vietnam syndrome, the war with enormous amounts of victims. The US strategists have already provided for everything: anti-terrorist operations will be realized with the help of local servicemen, the USA will pay dollars for the shed blood.
Second, every American citizen is perfectly sure of America’s greatness and its Messiah destination. They are said, America is to save the world! Ordinary Americans then feel arbiters of the earthly destinies, as their comics and fairytales become a reality. The recent statement of the head of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan about economic recession recovering and soonest economic upturn have added more optimism to the population.
Has Moscow got an adequate response to the things mentioned above? An informal summit of the CIS presidents that finished the other day, has made the situation more clear. First of all, Russia admits presence of the US servicemen in Central Asia, but despite the danger of it, is not going to make any statements about it. The situation has changed not in Russia’s favor. It means Russia’s foreign strategy as concerning Central Asia is to be more flexible than before. A method of economic pressure exerted on the former Asiatic republics of the Soviet Union is being transformed into a business partnership, beneficial for all participants. For this very reason “an agreement of the four” on a single policy in gas production and transportation has been signed by Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenia. There is a slightest stipulation in the agreement: Uzbekistan and Turkmenia will insist on lower prices for gas transportation along Russia’s pipelines. It is not clear so far what is to prevail in the situation: business or politics.
Second, Russia factually agrees to presence of the US servicemen in Georgia. President Putin said: “Why Central Asia can, and Georgia can not?”, having completed a three-day hysteria on the problem among the authorities. The president meant that Russia considered US presence on the South Caucasian borders admissible.
Much is not clear yet about the situation: probably Moscow relies on honesty of the transoceanic partner, that has promised to consult with Russia on every action in the area. Or probably Moscow hopes to threaten Georgia’s President Eduard Shevardnadze with cessation of gas supplies, or remind him of the problems in Abkhazia and South Osetia.
The first argument is slightly probable, as similar mistakes have been already committed earlier. The second one is more probable. But the time can not be wasted, as it may be too late: when Americans take notice of something, it will be hardly taken away from them. What is to be the US’s next action?
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/04/37801.html
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