Forget about claims that “America is back — we’re at the head of the table once again.” Not only does this statement sound pathetic in the face of our country’s long list of internal and external problems, but it is also dangerous, since it drives us further along the path of other failed empires from the Romans to Soviets, who made similar claims. It is time to accept the reality that the brief era of US unipolar world domination is over and act accordingly with a sober realization that the world’s table is round, not rectangular with one boss at the top.
Stop using force, or other overt and covert actions, to promote democracy around the world. Americans who indeed adhere to western values do not claim that they are superior to those of the people of other nations. Those who do are violating the same values that they are trying to impose. Bombs, sanctions, and regime change operations have contributed to devastation and misery for tens of millions of people around the world, while at the same time inflicting huge human, material, and moral damage on America itself.
Transform NATO into IATO – the International Anti-Terrorist Organization. IATO should consist of well-armed international rapid response forces ready to liquidate terrorist threats in any part of the world. With its present expansionist mood and insatiable financial appetites, NATO is a problem for, rather than solution to, the world’s security.
America can lead in certain areas but must do it by example rather than force. Money saved from America’s futile attempts to be a world hegemon should be used for both domestic social and infrastructure development, and for working with other nations on resolving crises in global health, the environment, and shortages of food, water, and energy resources.
It is obvious that the nation’s security has found itself in a much worse situation than it was before the collapse of USSR. Isn’t it time, at long last, to rethink a failed, three decades-long establishment consensus on foreign policy?
— Edward Lozansky, President of American University in Moscow
The US and Russia are two major nuclear powers about to be led in the USA soon by President-Elect Joseph (Joe) Biden and twenty years hence since 2000 by President Vladimir Putin, both seasoned politicians. Each promotes and protects their way of life as laid out by the interpretation of their constitutions. State Sovereignty reigns as both exist in a ruthless jungle of coercion, and individuals become collateral damage in the name of defending national interests. Ironically, international law principles are muttered by Russia and the USA. Russia’s call to respect the integral sovereignty over other countries annexes Crimea from Ukraine to protect the Russian-speaking people’s self-determination. The US going so far as sanctioning international civil servants charged by the International Criminal Court to investigate human rights and humanitarian law abuses. For such investigations, the US at least could comply in spirit with the Rome Statute terms by taking serious steps to investigate and prosecute such alleged charges in America’s military justice and, if merited, civil court systems.
As for the overarching contradictions in Russian and US foreign policy and human rights, this deeply rooted problem will persist in increasing the risk of armed conflict and nuclear weapons use. While the US regards itself as called to promote change – whether it be political, economic, or cultural, and both inside and outside its borders, Putin’s Russia aspires toward conservatism to halt any meddling in its internal affairs while holding together the former republic of the Soviet Union from drifting away into the orbit of the West as NATO expands towards eastward beyond the Elbe River considered by him a broken promise by the US. America’s foreign policy ultimate aims to spread liberal democracy are praiseworthy. However, they must also be tempered when sitting at a round table and not at the head of a table. The people of both nations, led by Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, need to find areas that will bridge their differences and build mutual trust to transform the significant security challenges facing both countries and their people. But also, that of the world as climate change threatens food shortage, rising waters, increasing fires and droughts, and a potentially uninhabitable planet. Rekindling US-Russian collaboration on a scale of security issues would unleash greater diplomacy and new instruments like permanent neutrality as a model to secure the geopolitical interests and the spread of humanitarian services to alleviate climate change threats, changing the norm of sovereignty from fear of altering countries civilizational traditions to invite them to help with improving the quality of life.
— Herbert Reginbogin, Fellow Catholic University of America, Institute for Policy Research
Once he takes office, President Joe Biden should waste no time in reviving serious arms control negotiations with Moscow.
Biden should immediately accept Russia’s proposal to renew the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for five years before it runs out on February 5 with no changes. However, moving ahead with constructive strategic arms reduction negotiations should only be the first step.
Biden should also propose starting new negotiations to replace and update the now defunct 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, recognizing the need for China, France and Britain to fully participate in this process.
Biden should launch a bilateral process directly with Moscow aimed immediately stopping any further plans and moves towards continued NATO expansion and pull US military advisers and weapon supplies out of Georgia and Ukraine.
He should order an interagency reassessment immediately of whether US defense of Ukraine and Georgia have any strategic value to the United States whatsoever and he should rein in all US policies aimed at destabilizing Russia. He must make clear to the governments of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that any efforts to provoke Russia hostility or confrontations with the United States will not be tolerated.
He and his secretary of state Anthony Blinken should make clear they are ready for constructive negotiations with Russia on a broad range of issues important to both countries and the world.
— Martin Sieff, former Senior Foreign Policy Editor of the Washington Times
Joe Biden should define American leadership as shaping rather than resisting the emerging multipolar system. The reluctance to establish a pan-European security architecture after the Cold War extended the unipolar era, although now it creates a very unfavorable multipolar system by incentivizing Russia to align with China.
Europe’s current malaise was as predictable as it was avoidable: Jack Matlock, James Baker, Richard Pipes, William Perry and others overseeing the end of the Cold War aptly predicted NATO expansionism would resuscitate antagonistic zero-sum structures in Europe. George Kennan anticipated NATO expansion would spark another Cold War and that Moscow would then be blamed: “Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are - but this is just wrong”.
Russia’s primary foreign policy goal since the Cold War was to be included in the new Europe. Yet, in the absence of institutional representation, Russia must be assertive to counter encirclement and restore its political subjectivity. Russia cannot live with NATO on its borders any more than the US could accept Soviet missiles in Cuba.
Robert Gates recognized “we did not take Russian interests seriously” and “trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching”. Henry Kissinger also cautions that Washington lost its strategic focus as “breaking Russia has become an objective; the long-range purpose should be to integrate it”. Pushing Russia out of Europe is now providing China with a powerful ally.
— Glenn Diesen, University of South-Eastern Norway
I am a very patriotic American. I’ve risked my life hundreds of times in combat but I’ve very concerned about NATO. NATO, in my view poses a very grave threat to world peace. In fact, it is the centerpiece of the deep state. Going back, in 1949, NATO was formed as a defensive alliance against the Soviet Union, which was massively powered by nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union, in response formed the Warsaw Pact, six years later in 1955. Many years of Cold War went on. Fortunately, there was no nuclear war, or conventional war. The Cold War ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved and communism was discredited. The Warsaw Pact dissolved that same year. Now, by 1991, NATO served no practical purpose, and it should have been dissolved. It would have been a great thing for world peace had it been dissolved.
— Richard A. Black, Former Virginia State Senator, U.S. Army Col., (Ret.)
With the election of Joseph Biden, many American and Russian leaders are concerned about the likelihood of an escalation of tensions between these two great nations. President would be wise if he adhered to two enduring truths. First, he needs to build on the legacy of the end of the Cold War brought about by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Second, the world has always been a better place when the United States and Russia worked together as allies than when there was friction.
The twentieth century has often been called “The American Century.” Part of that greatness was a result of the nation’s leaders building upon the successes of previous presidents, even if they were from a different political party. Biden and Putin must control their tongue and eschew inflammatory rhetoric, as the Bible instructs leaders in James 3. The end of the Cold War was one of the greatest peacemaking accomplishments in world history and “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9).
Although Russia, like the United States, is far from a perfect country, in 2017 its leaders extended a clear olive branch. In that year in downtown Moscow, the Russians erected a celebratory statue of Reagan and Gorbachev. Sadly, the American press gave little coverage to this magnificent event. In order to build on the spirit of the Reagan-Gorbachev relationship, I would encourage Biden and Putin to schedule two summits. One at the Reagan Library in California and one at the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow. What a message of peace this would send.
— William Jeynes, Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, Princeton, NJ, Professor at California State University, Long Beach
Russia is not our enemy. This idea only enriches our military-industrial complex. Russian military budget is 1/15 of our present military budget for this year. The Soviet Union disappeared in 1991, yet this seems to remain unknown to many political figures, whose massive ignorance about Russia today is embarrassing. Neither American nor Russian people are hostile to each other or are in favor of war. This has been supported in national polls. Washington has been stone deaf to the public’s desire.
The new administration needs to calm down the cacophony of sanctions, insults and attacks from the media and our leaders. These have harmed not only Russia, but the USA as well.
Putin wants to be treated with the respect and recognition of Russia’s position of power, and for its cultural, literary, scientific achievements. Russia today is a young country with a new independent generation who were born after Communism and later will soon be leading their country. The new administration should learn about them.
We should encourage cultural exchanges between the young of both counties, for now using zoom or other online programs until a normal life returns.
Russians could be good friends and allies. We are facing many of the same problems including suffering from the virus. We have much to learn from each other. Russia, among other things, also has a great deal more experience in dealing with their ambitious next door neighbor.
— Suzanne Massie, Author, Russian historian, lecturer, advisor to President Reagan (1984-88)
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