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A Lack of Trust and Imperialist Thinking

Marek Menkiszak, a Polish academic at the Warsaw University’s Centre for Eastern Studies, is quoted by Interfax today talking about the central problems in EU-Russia relations: “I think the fundamental problem in Russia’s approach to the West, America and its allies, is a lack of trust. In my opinion the Russian side misinterprets the intentions of many actions.” As if responding on cue, Sergei Lavrov launched (no pun intended) some aggressive attacks against his U.S. counterparts: “Such a threat [from Iran] does not exist. (…) That’s why you would have to be very naive to assume that the American missile defense base in Europe is aimed against anything but Russia. It’s difficult to interpret it as anything other than a manifestation of imperial thinking.” Menkiszak thinks that this is just pre-election bluster that nobody should pay attention to, and indeed only hours earlier a senior Russian diplomat (Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov) registered his “concern” and “suspicions” after Iran test-fired a long-range rocket on Monday. Everyone knows that Russia doesn’t want a nuclear-armed Iran any more than the United States does, so it appears that time is running out for Lavrov and Co. to continue playing this particular hand.