Russia's "Great Game" in Iraq and Iran

As America's debate over toppling Saddam Hussein's regime intensifies, Russia is moving to center stage. This week Russia signed a $40 billion trade and economic cooperation treaty with Iraq while meeting Iranian leaders to discuss nuclear non-proliferation. Christopher Granville, a former British diplomat and now chief strategist for United Financial Group, a Russian investment bank, analyzes Russia's long-term interests and likely actions.

While no country seems able to trouble the Bush administration's military calculations concerning Iraq, Russia does combine serious interests in the region with marginally significant military capabilities. But Russia's real importance in any looming US-Iraq war lies not so much in its residual military power, as in the light its position sheds not only on the Iraqi problem but on that other member of the "axis of evil": Iran.

So far, the most striking feature of the Putin administration's handling of the US-Iraq situation has been its silence. If forced to state a view, Russian diplomats stick to a standard line about implementing UN Security Council resolutions and the need for Security Council endorsement of any new actions against Iraq. Unlike other leading West European countries, President Putin and his government prefer to keep their heads down, reflecting their wish to nurture Russia's new and still-fragile rapprochement with the US.

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

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/n5Szlmp;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now