The Russians seem to be used to the fact that Russia’s foreign policy has long been in a continuous search: whom to be oriented to? Since the perestroika times, the Western orientation was proclaimed. Recently, signs of “oriental leaning” started to show. But they failed to develop, and Russia is again is making a U-turn towards the West. It is known that there are no friends or foes in politics, but there are only interests. No one expected the Russian diplomacy to have changes so quickly and so steeply. Surely, the world will never stay the same after what happened in New York on September 11th. At the same time, so speedy a rapprochement between Russia and America came as a surprise for many. Western media can never get used to a new reality. On the one hand, they welcome the unexpected move by the Russian president. On the other hand, they warn of a strong resistance Mr. Putin is going to face. According to American commentators, the resistance to “nearly allied” relations between the USA and Russia is going to be very strong. One should not delude oneself by the fact that this resistance is not yet much noticeable, they say. The rapprochement with Americans will not be welcomed by the military who just “have not have enough time to return from the cold war.” Intelligence officers who have for many years been fighting against Americans on the “invisible front,” are also sure to be discontented. This rapprochement will not be liked by Russia’s military-and-industrial complex, supplying weapons to countries for which this rapprochement has only been possible in a nightmare. Also, many Russian politicians will hardly be happy about Russia’s new tack. Those politicians cannot change it at the moment, while the people are silent, as they used to be, and only express their views in public opinion surveys. The Russia are likely to be more certain on the subject, if the country’s economic situation worsens. Then, Mr. Putin may repeat the fate of Mr. Gorbachev who has become the Western public’s darling, but lost his prestige in his homeland. American analysts are largely wondering whether new deal between the USA and Russia go beyond the framework of the ongoing anti-terror campaign. Many are inclined to think they should. President Putin, in many commentators’ view, makes best use of the beneficial situation, trying to take root in Europe and in the Western world in general. Pat Bukanan, an advisor to three US presidents and twice presidential candidate himself, thinks Mr. Putin has no other choice except moving closer to the West. The cause, in his view, is simple: Russia is “dying out.” According to some estimations, as little as 123m people will be living in Russia by 2015. From the south, Russia is being pressed by Islamic warriors. But the worst danger comes from China. With its population, which exceeds Russia’s by order, Chine will sooner or later “move to the north.” The only deterrent here may be the danger of a nuclear war. Mr. Putin has realized that all the talk of the US hegemony is rubbish, while the challenges coming from the south are real and more redoubtable, Mr. Bukanan supposes.
Sergei Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2001/11/15/33866.html