The Big Chill

MOSCOW: Russian-American relations are witnessing a renewed process of deterioration. Rot first set in during 1998 but stalled in 2000 because of the US presidential election. The Republicans were then presenting the Democrats as the party who "lost" Russia, so it was not to the Clinton/Gore Administration's advantage to second this by themselves feuding with the Putin administration. Now, with Republicans in the White House, the problems between the two countries are out in the open and multiplying.

The Bush Administration appears to believe that Russia and America are playing a "zero sum" game: that every diplomatic triumph Russia may have, no matter how minor, comes at American expense. Thus Russian efforts to treat the diplomatic world as a multi-polar one is viewed in Washington only as a facade for its efforts to diminish America. Making matters worse, the two countries have, to all intents and purposes, broken off both unofficial and - with scarcely an exception - official dialogue.

Why is this happening? Much of American foreign policy is now in the hands of people who have been out of international diplomacy for fifteen to twenty years, and so continue to sing from the old Cold War hymn book. Holding pride of place here is America's Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and a number of people around him. They appear unable to recognize that the post-Cold War world is not the world they knew when last in power. Before negotiating with their old adversaries, the Russians, they seem determined to show just how tough they are.

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.


Log in;
  1. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    The Brexit Surrender

    European Union leaders meeting in Brussels have given the go-ahead to talks with Britain on post-Brexit trade relations. But, as European Council President Donald Tusk has said, the most difficult challenge – forging a workable deal that secures broad political support on both sides – still lies ahead.

  2. The Great US Tax Debate

    ROBERT J. BARRO vs. JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS on the impact of the GOP tax  overhaul.

    • Congressional Republicans are finalizing a tax-reform package that will reshape the business environment by lowering the corporate-tax rate and overhauling deductions. 

    • But will the plan's far-reaching changes provide the boost to investment and growth that its backers promise?

    ROBERT J. BARRO | How US Corporate Tax Reform Will Boost Growth

    JASON FURMAN & LAWRENCE H. SUMMERS | Robert Barro's Tax Reform Advocacy: A Response

  3. Murdoch's Last Stand?

    Rupert Murdoch’s sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney for $66 billion may mark the end of the media mogul’s career, which will long be remembered for its corrosive effect on democratic discourse on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    From enabling the rise of Donald Trump to hacking the telephone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Murdoch’s media empire has staked its success on stoking populist rage.

  4. Bank of England Leon Neal/Getty Images

    The Dangerous Delusion of Price Stability

    Since the hyperinflation of the 1970s, which central banks were right to combat by whatever means necessary, maintaining positive but low inflation has become a monetary-policy obsession. But, because the world economy has changed dramatically since then, central bankers have started to miss the monetary-policy forest for the trees.

  5. Harvard’s Jeffrey Frankel Measures the GOP’s Tax Plan

    Jeffrey Frankel, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, outlines the five criteria he uses to judge the efficacy of tax reform efforts. And in his view, the US Republicans’ most recent offering fails miserably.

  6. A box containing viles of human embryonic Stem Cell cultures Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

    The Holy Grail of Genetic Engineering

    CRISPR-Cas – a gene-editing technique that is far more precise and efficient than any that has come before it – is poised to change the world. But ensuring that those changes are positive – helping to fight tumors and mosquito-borne illnesses, for example – will require scientists to apply the utmost caution.

  7. 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