Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Moscow’s relationships with allies and adversaries are coloured by its interventions in Ukraine and Syria
- While professing indifference towards US and EU sanctions, Moscow is keen to end them at minimum or no cost.
- China’s greater military spending is mitigated by its inability to replicate Russian hi-tech including for certain defence items.
- The complexity of Syria will constrain efforts to build on perceived success in forging new Middle Eastern and North African ties.
- Russia is trying to keep Turkey close by and manage differences of interest to avoid complicating its Syrian engagement.
Foreign policy thinking and actions will reflect Russian efforts to throw off perceptions of it as a ‘second-rate superpower’ and regain global status and respect.
Different interpretations of past events and future intentions will obstruct rapprochement with the West. This is evident in Russia’s claim to a right of retaliation against ‘Western meddling’ and its adherence to the notion of ‘spheres of influence’.
In other regions, foreign relations will reflect hard-headed pragmatism including efforts to sell arms and secure energy deals. Nuclear arms talks offer a unique forum for negotiating parity with the United States.
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