'Caveman Proclamations' No Longer a Worry for 'Relieved' Kremlin (Kommersant, Russia)
reelection of U.S. President Barack Obama will allow many in Moscow to take a sigh
of relief: the Cold War is canceled. This is, in fact, what the 2012 U.S.
presidential campaign means for Moscow. Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who
called Russia America's geopolitical enemy number one, is out of the running
and will no longer irritate the Kremlin with his 'caveman proclamations.'"
Kommersant observer Sergei Strokan
on what the results of the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign mean to Moscow
The reelection of U.S. President Barack Obama will allow
many in Moscow to take a sigh of relief: the Cold War is canceled. This is, in
fact, what the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign means for Moscow. Republican
candidate Mitt Romney, who called Russia America's geopolitical enemy number
one, is out of the running and will no longer irritate the Kremlin with his "caveman
proclamations." Another piece of good news is that Romney, who is now 65-years-old,
will not participate in the next election.
Does Obama's victory mean that Moscow and Washington get
another chance for a "reset"? The answer is obviously yes. However, given
the history of bloc confrontation between the two powers, this doesn't
necessarily mean that this newly-emerged opportunity will be grasped. Today, in
the wake of new post-election expectations, the White House and the Kremlin need
to work on some the bugs in their relationship. The two administrations need to
understand why, in the final stages of Obama's presidency, the reset, which
seemed such a promising foreign policy project, became an object of growing
criticism and outright ridicule from the hawks in both Moscow and Washington.
It's not possible to build with one hand and to destroy
with the other. If Moscow simultaneously declares its commitment to staying on
the course of strategic partnership with the U.S., while simultaneously fueling
the fire of anti-Americanism - which has returned to Russia's mass media and the
statements of Russian officials after a brief pause - the chance for a second
iteration of the "reset" will be missed. For Moscow, that was the
lesson of Obama's first presidential term. It isn't possible to build a serious
partnership if one doesn't trust its partner and is always keeping its fingers
crossed in its pockets.
But the Obama Administration, which gave the "reset"
button to Moscow in the first place, should also not repeat its mistakes. In
reality, Russia's growing irritation with the actions of the White House is far
from baseless. Yet again, Moscow was not consulted about the development of
Obama's plan for the creation of an anti-missile defense system in Europe, nor
on the Syrian issue, nor, before all that, on the toppling of the Libyan regime
- and that was after Moscow was trusting enough not to use its veto at the U.N.
Security Council. One must say that despite all the politeness of his rhetoric
toward Moscow, President Obama paradoxically contributed much to the anti-American
sentiments being observed today.
Most importantly, Washington must understand that
President Putin will never accept Moscow being forced to play the role of junior
partner forced on it by the United States. True partnership during Obama's
second term can only be based on equality.
And lastly, mutual accusations along the lines of "it's
not me, it's you" in this stalled and permanently turbulent relationship
must end. The old attitude of "you broke it, you fix it" is no longer
going to work. The only way to prevent the second reset from being derailed is
for all sides, when sitting around the negotiating table, to have the courage
to say "we broke it, we will fix it."