How About That Russian Reset? Two Friday Links From The American Interest

From Via Media: ‘Russia Turns Gaze To Latin Autocrats:

At first, a friend pointed-out the return of the old Moscow-Tehran-Damascus alliance: Russia may be only a shade of its former Soviet self, but Putin is still running the old Cold-War playbook for leverage to recover his empire.  The Syria redline debacle simply allowed him to dust-off some old plays.

Now there’s a Meridian Class intelligence ship docked in Havana and possible negotiations for Russian bases in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Mead:

‘That Russia is building ties with the least democratic and most anti-American governments in the hemisphere should help us as we gaze into his eyes and try to see his soul. He doesn’t actually like us very much, and doesn’t wish us well. This kind of stuff is particularly problematic for the two flexibility experts in DC—Kerry and Obama—who have consistently reached out to Russia in hopes of a better or at least more pragmatic understanding.

It’s hard to think of many goals that the Obama administration has pursued so consistently as the reset with Russia. News like this reminds us that it may have all been in vain.’

As of now, we’re putting human rights ideals and peace-dealing before many of our other interests, using this dragnet to try and include even bad-actors into an international framework.

The actual consequences of this approach are not reassuring, with Syria and Russia currently standing-out.  We’re creating something of a power vacuum and conducting an experiment to see which kind of people fill the void.

If I’m not mistaken, Mead is calling for a more Huntingtonian approach, or rounding-up our interests and allies first and proceeding from there (less Western far-Left, human-rights focused and liberal internationalist).

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Thomas Graham, a former Security Advisor to Russia, suggests we still aren’t in a zero-sum game against Russia.

So, what do we actually do next?:

‘What requires more thought is Mead’s conclusion. He sees a major zero-sum geopolitical contestunfolding, pitting Russia against the United States. Washington, he argues, should abandon its policy of seeking better relations and push back against Russia. Most urgently, in his view, the administration needs to rethink its policies on Ukraine and Syria to take into account Russia’s unrelenting opposition—and Mead would surely argue that the dramatic events in Kiev and the collapse of the Syrian negotiations only reinforce the urgency. But he has not yet suggested what the pushback would entail in detail and what it should aim to achieve. What, in other words, should the United States do, to what ends, at what cost, and with what chances of success?’

We may be getting to that point shortly under the current leadership.

How’s that Russian reset going?:

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