Ivan Safranchuk, an adviser to the Russian government, recently told the Economist that with regard to the United States, “Moscow’s general policy is one of disengagement.” However others are arguing the precise opposite, that recent actions show that Russia is attempting to put an end to its longstanding diplomatic estrangement. From Jon Haron-Feiertag in the Diplomatic Courier:
President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin preside over a country that has never been isolated, nevertheless it has for a long time been estranged. Not since the era of the Holy Alliance has Russia had the benefit of a real, reliable ally in peace time. Today Russia has been abandoned by all her confederates from the Warsaw Pact. She has proven unable to resist the NATO enlargement, or block its interventions in either Bosnia or Kosovo. Her actions in Georgia go unaided, and have become the subject of continuing scorn by the U.S. and Europeans. And her longtime military customers, like Ethiopia, Syria, Algeria, India, et al, have turned away from her influences and begun to seek new combinations for security.
It is little wonder therefore that Russia would seek to reinvigorateits diplomacy with a blitz of new initiatives. In recent weeks theRussian President and Prime Minister have been host to a myriad ofevents in an effort to refashion the dress of Russian diplomacy. Thereset in U.S.-Russian relations among these represents just one. It isan important development, especially from the U.S. perspective. But forRussia it may not even be the most important. Consider a few others.