Not so long ago, PRAVDA.Ru was subjected to criticism by a representative of the US administration for quoting Condoleeza Rice's pronouncement on Russia. We cited excerpts from her statement about Russia being a threat not only to the USA, but also to the USA's European allies. Our publication was followed by a response href=>. And soon Condoleeza Rice stated that Russia is a long-term partner of the USA and she should be reckoned with.

We asked the State Duma deputy, Major-General Alexander PISKUNOV, who was heavily involved in negotiations to ratify most of the major agreements on nuclear and conventional arms over the past decade, to express his opinion on the new administration.

— Despite the importance of relations between the USA and Russia, they should not be hyperbolized at least for the fact that the gravity centre of Russia's debt problems is in Europe. And, for the reason of common economic, ecological and political problems, Europe will, certainly, somehow balance the relations between Russia and the USA, however radical is the tone of politicians' statements.

One should not also dramatize the statements made by some representatives of the US administration during the election campaign, we know that what candidates say does not always correspond with what the elect do.

Yes, it looks like there is a problem of isolationism sentiments of the Republican electorate, a considerable part of which is sure of the USA's self-sufficiency and takes no interest in other countries. Yes, Bush, Jr., has got no experience of dealing with international politics. However, the team he has selected is extremely professional, perfectly feels and understands international security problems.

Condoleeza Rice is a tough or, to be more accurate, sober-minded politician, knows well not only the Russian language but Russia as well. She is a politician one can negotiate with and be sure to reach effective results.

Yes, the inconsistency and exoticism of foreign policy statements and actions by B.N.Eltsin, which probably suited the Clinton administration, will not work with the Bush, Jr., administration. And that is good. The scale and complexity of the tasks faced by Russia call for a rigid political logic in shaping home and foreign policy of this country.

The experience of dealing with the administrations Reagan and Bush, Sr., testifies to the opportunity of reaching break-through decisions even in the strategic arms sphere.

Besides Condoleeza Rice, in the US presidential administration there are another two strong figures — State Secretary C.Powell and Vice-President D.Chaney — experienced and thorough politicians who will certainly influence the activities of the younger politician Condoleeza Rice. The military, who happened to pay with the blood of soldiers for mistakes by politicians, frequently prove to be less hawkish than civilian leaders who do not realise all consequences of the political measures they recommend to presidents. Both D.Chaney and C.Powell know well what is international security, including nuclear deterrence. Fostered in the cold war years, joint responsibility for inadmissibility of a nuclear conflict and security of the world is, on the whole, objectively inherent in the military leaders of the old generation.

In my opinion, the trio — Rice, Chaney and Powell — is capable of playing a substantial and very good foreign-policy game. The point is whether we have performers able to play on the par with this ensemble. The past experience testifies that we just try to grasp at the branches of the tree drawn by our negotiating partners.

The Americans are right in treating home policy interests higher than foreign policy ones. In fact, Putin has adopted the same principle.

Much to regret, we have a mentality fostered by a song " …gone to war to provide land for the peasants in the Spanish province of Grenade", when there is fire in our own home and dislocation all-around. Half of Russian forests are on fire, but we extinguish them all over the world. We will not spare even our own mother for "prestige" considerations: the back is naked, but we are in space.

Now the problem is that the team in charge of Russia's foreign policy is able to soberly and rigidly make our internal national interests the corner-stone of their activities.

In general, I consider the present US administration to be strong and serious partners.

Today, anti-missile defence and strategic offensive arms issues, presented by politicians as a deadlock in our relations, are far-fetched in many respects. After all, it is quite obvious that neither the Americans nor ourselves are going to provoke a nuclear war.

At the same time, we should certainly give up negotiations resting on obsolete principles of opposition and mistrust between the parties, when weakening each other was a corner-stone point.

Of course, there is a way out of the far-fetched deadlock by reaching new agreements on both a substantial reduction of nuclear arms, intended for a long-term perspective, and the deployment of an anti-missile defence system against single missile launches.

Presently, in the US administration there are really professional and sober-minded specialists; on the whole, it is a very serious partner requiring for an adequate approach on our part. The problem is not that they have a team that does not like Russia very much and likes America very much. The problem is that we build a team which would be able to constructively oppose and constructively collaborate. This is a challenge of their professionals to our professionals.

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