Facing the New Russian Challenge

By
Nicholas Wheeler

As the upcoming U.S.-Russia summit draws near, President Bush and other Western leaders face the challenge of creating a different organizing principle for developing and implementing Russian policy. At an 18 March 2002 lecture at the Kennan Institute, Ambassador James Goodby, Senior Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, stated that, "President Vladimir Putin's strategic decision to integrate Russia into the West presents a real challenge to Western leaders." According to Goodby, Putin's discussions with European leaders and organizations illustrate his willingness to shift Russian ideology from the "multi-polar" foreign policies of the Primakov government to a pro-Western orientation. Goodby noted that, following September 11, the Putin government continued to shift its policies towards the United States and other Western institutions, placing greater pressure on Western leaders to react appropriately.

In his discussion, Goodby drew upon the recently published book A Strategy for a Stable Peace: Toward a Euroatlantic Security Community, by Goodby, P. Buwalda, D. Trenin (U.S. Institute of Peace, 2002). Goodby described several different scenarios and policy changes that would most effectively lead to a condition of "stable peace" between the European Union, the United States, and Russia. According to Goodby, "stable peace" may be defined as a condition in which war between two sides is not considered an option, as for example, within the EU and Scandinavian countries. In order to achieve this, Goodby stated, there must be a convergence of values and identity.

Goodby recognized that a stable peace between the West and Russia might not be attainable at the present time, but he stated there is hope that a Euroatlantic security community may be developed. A "security community" is a close approximation of a stable peace but, in Goodby's view, would not require such a high convergence of values and self-identification. He also noted that such a community could develop through a convergence of national interests with the help of national leaderships, but that it will not happen by itself. He further stated that the imprinting ofnorms and rules upon the system while building a Euroatlantic security community would promote conditions conducive to a stable peace.

Goodby explained five different scenarios in which Euroatlantic relations could possiblydevelop. Goodby's first model, characterized by U.S. dominance, is similar to today's situation. The second model is a stable triad, or a situation in which the relationship between the U.S., EU, and Russia becomes more of a community of equals--not in absolute power terms, but in the weight accorded to the views and interests of the U.S., EU, and Russia. Goodby identified the third model as the Western Commonwealth, or a situation where Russia fitfully continues its democratic reforms, but declines to engage the West in cooperation or constructive dialogue. The fourth model examined the implications of EU dominance. In this condition, Russia declines to engage the West, and the United States turns its focus to Asia, leaving the European Union in charge of European-focused policy and security in the region. In the final model, the U.S. overreaches with its hegemony, alienating the EU and Russia. The resulting competition between the EU-Russia coalition and United States further destabilizes the Euroatlantic system.

According to Goodby, the most preferred arrangement would be a stable triad because itwould be more self-sustaining and act with more coherence, and would likely produce the greatest stability in the Euroatlantic region in the long run. In Goodby's estimation, this would require the EU to make several internal changes to create the type of governance that could meet the needs of the estimated 500 million potential citizens of the European Union, while Russian democracy and constitutional liberalism would have to deeply take root. The United States, on the other hand, must be willing to recede from hegemony. Goodby reiterated the importance of continued U.S. support for Russia's democratic movement, and also noted that U.S. leaders need to address other short-term questions surrounding security, economic, and human rights issues that would build momentum toward a stable peace. Ambassador Goodby concluded by emphasizing that rather than considering Russia as a minor player in the war against terrorism, U.S. leaders must learn to view Russia as a primary partner in the global system, and craft policies that strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

Experts & Staff

Contact the Kennan Institute

Tel: (202) 691-4100
Fax: (202) 691-4247
kennan@wilsoncenter.org
 

Kennan Kyiv Project

Україна, 04071, Київ
вул. Костянтинівська, 4, офіс 2
Проект КЕННАН
тел/факс: (+380 44) 425-36-24
kennan@kennan.kiev.ua
www.kennan.kiev.ua

Kennan Scholars

For a complete list of current scholars in residence, click here.