Critical Questions: The U.S.-Russia Relationship: Fall 2007
October 19, 2007
There is no question that there is more tension now in the U.S.-Russia relationship and Russia-Western relations more broadly than anytime since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But all of the hype about a “new Cold War” is overblown. No serious political actor in Russia—and you might argue now that Vladimir Putin is the only such actor—desires a return to global confrontation with the United States. The resurgent Russia of Putin is more assertive for sure than Yeltsin's 1990s basket case, but the principal priorities of Moscow for at least the next decade or so will remain domestic modernization. Russian foreign policy is driven by a pragmatic, and often commercial, assessment of national interest. As we head into an election year in both Russia and the United States, let’s take a moment to examine the key issues in the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship.