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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

Vollständiger Beitrag als PDF:  PDF ansehen PDF downloaden  9 Seiten (112 KB)
Schlagworte zu diesem Beitrag:  Russland, Sicherheitspolitik, Verteidigungspolitik, Außenpolitik, Interdependenz, EU, USA


The year 2000 has brought about a series of changes which have the potential of substantially reshaping Russia’s relations with the two parts of the «double-headed West», i.e., America and EU-Europe. The first new element is the arrival of Vladimir Putin to the presidency of Russia, and the end of the Yeltsin era in Russian politics. The second one is the American presidential election and the end of the unique era of America’s involvement with Russia under the Clinton administration, which tried, and failed, to be a benevolent facilitator of Russia’s post-Communist transition. The third, and quite likely the one fraught with the most far-reaching consequences, is the gradual emergence of a European security and defense identity to complement the EU’s economic, financial and political dimensions. The immediate cumulative impact of these changes is the drawing of a line under the period of immediate post-Cold War adjustment in Europe. The relationship between Russia and what is still collectively referred to as "the West" is becoming increasingly triangular.

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.

Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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