Russia And The Double-Headed West: Contours Of A New Triangular Relationship
erschienen in der Publikation "GASP: Die Entwicklung der Gemeinsamen Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik aus außereuropäischer Sicht (3/00)" (ISBN: 3-901328-47-5) - Juni 2000
Autor(en):Ph.D. Dimitri Trenin
This article will look at the emerging pattern of this three-corner relationship. The signal feature of the new situation is the growing concentration of each actor (or group of actors, in Europe’s case) on itself. This is unlikely to change in the next several years. The European Union will proceed along the dual track of further consolidation and enlargement; the United States, for all its unprecedented national power and international influence, is becoming less interested in foreign affairs; as to Russia, it will continue to grapple with the mammoth task of its post-Communist transformation. As Europe and Russia progress, however, they will need to construct new international identities for themselves. America, on the other hand, will keep its identity but will seek to modify the terms of its engagement with the rest of the world. Thus, contours of a very new relationship will gradually emerge. Within the triangle, the Transatlantic element will become more important than the traditional East-West element. Over time, the U.S. and the EU will probably become more equal, though not necessarily more distant. Moscow, however, will not be able to exploit this situation, which the Soviet Union had always regarded as a golden strategic opportunity to enhance its role in Europe. Rather, Russia will face the choice of un-splendid isolation on the continent that it shares with the EU, and an accelerated drift to irrelevance as an international player, or of genuinely embracing the notion of a partnership and association with the EU, while at the same time pragmatically seeking a working relationship with the United States in the financial, nuclear and geopolitical areas, in particular to protect its flanks in the south and the east. Although it is unlikely that this choice, requiring no less than a change of Russia’s international identity and departure from its 500-year-old pattern of behavior, or, on the other hand, a rejection of age-old hopes of "becoming a normal (i.e., a European) country", will be made under President Putin, his presidency will provide the key ingredients for it.