Geopolitical and Global Economic Partnerships
Starting in the late 1940s, the United States and the Soviet Union clashed in political and economic conflict during the cold war. When the cold war ended, the Soviet Union disbanded. The United States gave token support to the Russian Federation. For 10 or so years, however, the United States paid little attention to Russia’s socioeconomic problems.
On September 11, 2001, international terrorists struck New York City and Washington, D.C. Several thousand Americans and people from many other countries died. President George W. Bush directed the U.S. military to eliminate terrorist centers and bases in Afghanistan. When U.S. armed forces began to bomb Afghanistan, they entered Russia’s realm of influence.
President Bush and President Putin forged an alliance against international terrorists. At the same time, they also looked for opportunities to work together for global security. Russia welcomed American intervention in Afghanistan. It helped stabilize a turbulent part of the world viewed in Moscow as an immense danger for its interests in central Asia and neighboring regions. After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, however, the Russian response was much cooler, because Moscow and Baghdad had a well-developed relationship lasting since Soviet times.
The dependence of the United States upon Middle East oil poses an economic threat to the American way of life. If there were a decrease in oil from the Middle East, the U.S. economy would suffer. President Bush recognized that Russia has vast oil and natural gas reserves, so he began to explore ways that the United States could finance oil and natural gas production in the CIS. President Putin saw that Russia, the CIS, and the United States would all reap benefits if they teamed up on selected political and economic activities. Since 2005, however, Russia’s relationship with the United States has cooled. One of the major disagreements between the countries relates to Iran’s nuclear program. While the American side portrays Iran as a foe and a supporter of terrorists, Russia has been developing stronger economic ties with this important Middle Eastern country.
Among the major initiatives during Putin’s presidency is the restoration of Russia as a major world power, a position that plummeted during the years of Yeltsin’s rule. The current administration has successfully reversed the downward trend. Economic and political connections with North African and Middle Eastern countries have been revived. Russia and China are developing stronger ties on several fronts. As one of the largest importers of its military technology, China is concerned about friendship with Russia. In 2005, the two countries held joint large-scale military exercises, something previously unimaginable.