Russia Between Old Europe and New America

by Dmitri Trenin

Throughout the UN debate on Iraq, President Putin tried to let France lead the charge against America's supposed "unilateralism". He also refrained from joining German Chancellor Schroeder's opposition to any military action against Baghdad. In the end, Russia's president came down against backing the US, yet he has - so far - attracted none of the angry gibes that the French and German leaders have received from America. The subtlety and maturity of his diplomacy over Iraq are but another sign that Russia is emerging from its long post-communist funk to find its voice in an American-led world.

From the start of the crisis, Russia's president shrewdly saw the difference in the way Americans perceive France and Germany, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other. The lingering empathy for France and Germany born of the Cold War alliance stands in stark contrast to the American foreign policy community's wariness toward post-Soviet Russia. Had President Putin joined the Franco-German chorus of doubters at the beginning of the UN debate, he would have squandered the goodwill and reputation for reliability he had painstakingly accumulated since coming to power three years ago.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.