The role of the U.S. in self-strengthening of Russia. A lecture by Dmitri Trenin

12 June 2020

On June 10, the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund hosted online lecture “Russia in the bipolar world” by Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Chairman of the Research Council and the Foreign and Security Policy Program Dmitri Trenin.

The speaker analyzed roots of a new phenomenon of bipolarity, which does not involve development of a block structure similar to the cold war; reviewed reasons for moving of U.S.-Chinese relations to a new spiral of tension and the role of Russia in that confrontation; presented theses reflecting a backbone of recent trends emerging in international relations.

Even before the pandemic it was possible to see development of the “big two” consisting of the U.S. and China in the system of intergovernmental relations, but not as a tandem  of “an elder and a younger brother”, where the latter fits in with the U.S. system according to how it had been viewed before in the U.S., but in the format of an equally competitive system. The new framework is not like any previous ones and does not expect development of the block structure when other countries handed over control over their military potential to the superpowers. In its turn, such format will become a major axis of international relations in the nearest future.

The first thesis was a statement that during the pandemic crisis a point of no return had been passed on the way from the U.S.-Chinese rivalry to confrontation. The emerged vector of relations will be a leading one for quite some time.

Dmitry Trenin identified the difference between the new bipolarity and the Soviet-U.S. confrontation as his second thesis. According to him, globalization will acquire new features and will become fuller and more controversial in its content, the world will remain one whole, but will become segmented.

Thirdly, Russia is a guarantor of balance. The main value of Russia is its self-dependence, self-sufficiency and ability to play an independent role in the world. It is important not to allow preponderance towards one of the competing superpowers.

Fourthly, self-dependence does not mean independence from the external world. For Russia, such model of the foreign policy is beneficial as it will allow keeping self-dependence and relative independence under conditions of confrontation between the U.S. and China.

The main goal of the foreign policy of Russia is to support transformation of the country in economic, scientific-technical, social and political areas. The foreign policy should play a role of an assistant, which promotes positive changes within the country. Also, it is important for Russia to build a system of international balancing and search for support points in the Greater Eurasia region where it has its territories.

The expert has no doubt that relations between the U.S. and Russia will remain confrontational in the foreseeable future. Under those conditions, the main task is to keep non-involvement in the U.S.-Chinese conflict and build cold, but rational relations, which have a sufficient number of preventive mechanisms.

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