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Srdja Trifkovic, has said that the US and Russia must work together to fight aggression in the world, despite the recent unveiling of the US’ new Defense Strategy.
Trifkovic said: “The Obama Administration’s “Defense Strategic Guidance” (DSG) was unveiled on January 5 as part of the broader programmatic document, Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. Presenting the DSG, President Obama spoke of “enduring national interests” in maintaining the unparalleled U.S. military superiority, “ready for the full range of contingencies and threats” amidst “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.”
“The DSG further asserted that in the decades ahead it will be the task of the United States to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world.” The ideological framework behind the concept was evident in Obama’s State of the Union address three weeks later, when he repeated Madeleine Albrigtht’s irritating dictum that “America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs.”
“As long as I am President,” he added sternly, “I intend to keep it that way.” This is some light years away from candidate Obama bewailing “the consequences of a foreign policy based on a flawed ideology, and a belief that tough talk can replace real strength and vision.”
“The implications of the DSG for Russia’s strategic planners are clear: the rhetoric in Washington may vary from one administration to another, but the substance is constant. Obama made no attempt to support his claim that the security threats to America are growing, or to provide his own definition of “enduring national interest,” because he sees the entire world as a legitimate sphere of interest of the United States.
The DSG is intrinsically a challenge to Russia and other powers outside the U.S. orbit, and that challenge may only become more acute if Mitt Romney wins in November. A sober reassessment of the “reset” will be needed soon after V.V. Putin’s expected return to the helm of the Russian Federation. U.S.-Russian relations over the past two decades reveal a remarkable role reversal.
The Soviet Union came into being as a revolutionary state that challenged any given status quo in principle, starting with the Comintern and ending three generations later with Afghanistan. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, Russia has been trying to define her policies in terms of traditional national interests: stable domestic institutions, secure borders, friendly neighbors.
The old Soviet dual-track policy of having “normal” relations with America, on the one hand, while seeking to subvert her, on the other, gave way to sometimes naive attempts to forge a “partnership” with Washington.
“By contrast, the early 1990′s witnessed America’s strident attempt to assert her status as the only global “hyperpower.” This ambition was inimical to post-Soviet stabilization. Washington refused to accept that Russia has any legitimate interests in her near-abroad, while reserving the right to meddle in her internal affairs. In essence, America adopted her own dual-track approach.
“Contemporary U.S. strategic doctrine is reminiscent of an old blueprint for Soviet policy: the Brezhnev Doctrine. It was defined by its author as the principle that the sovereignty of a socialist country is limited by the will of the Kremlin: “The norms of law cannot be interpreted narrowly, formally, in isolation from the general context…”
The key difference between Brezhnev and the leaders of modern America is the limited scope of the Soviet leader’s self-awarded outreach. His doctrine applied only to the “socialist community,” as opposed to the unlimited scope of meeting “security challenges across the globe” by the “indispensable country.” No “interests of world socialism” could beat “universal human rights” when it came to determining where and when to intervene.
The “socialist community” led by Moscow stopped on the Elbe. It was replaced by the “International Community,” led by Washington, which stops nowhere. “Under President Obama, this remains the self-referential framework for the policy of permanent global interventionism.
Sooner or later, however, U.S. foreign policy will collide with reality-Iraq and Afghanistan appear not to have been sufficient wake-up calls-and Washington, shorn of its ideological blinkers, will finally embrace the foreign policy imperative of the 21st century: Solidarity and strategic cooperation between the United States, Europe and Russia on the basis of their shared moral, intellectual and cultural foundations, as they face similar challenges in the years to come.”
Srdja Trifkovic is Foreign Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and Executive Director of The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies