On air: Can the US and Russia ever get on?

us russia

President Obama’s in Moscow with nuclear weapons top of the agenda. He says he’s confident that the discussions could offer “extraordinary progress” on several fronts. Not all of you are so optimistic, and not just because of what may or may not be agreed during these talks.

Does the nature of the two countries – their geography, their politics, their cultures – and their long history of competition mean that a friendly and co-operative relationship will always remain beyond reach? Maybe if you’re Russian or American you don’t even think it’s desirable.

Mr Obama says ‘the United States and Russia have more in common than they have differences”. Do you believe that? We’ll take today’s programme to explore the relationship that both sides say they want to reset. Is it all wishful thinking?

Russians feel bullied by the US with only 12 percent saying the US treats Russia fairly, according to a new survey.

But M Waqar in New York thinks the opportunities for partnership are virtually limitless.

Obama’s told Putin that cold war politics are outdated but some think it is unwise to criticise the Russian Prime Minister because he’s still so powerful.

Needless to say, we’re especially keen to hear from you if you’re American or Russian.

79 Responses to “On air: Can the US and Russia ever get on?”

  1. 1 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 6, 2009 at 10:33

    Yes the world does need Russia and the US to get along. I think it will make for a safer world if their can be cooperation on nuclear disarmament, alternative energy, the environment and financial regulation.

    Relations between the US and Russia can improve but only if the the relationship is based on trust and mutual respect. Obama will have to prove to the people of Russia over time that he views them as equal partners in the relationship.

  2. 2 Ramesh, India
    July 6, 2009 at 11:23

    Yes, Yes, Yes! If Russia can forge good relations with the US, then it automatically results in good relations with Western Europe too. If this happens, the benefits to world at large would be many. Instead worrying about how americans are treating them, russians should concentrate on building their economy while maintaining it military might in a non-provocative way. If the russians prioritise the economy, it will automatically make them to look for good relations with the US and Western Europe.

    • July 7, 2009 at 09:27

      Ramesh, you surprise me. While peace and good relationship between all nations is desirable, Russia cannot unilaterally forge good relations with America. As long as the American Dream remains dominating the world and commandeering the world’s oil and mineral resources for itself, in the guise of spreading democracy, the world will need states like Russia and China to stand up to America and counterbalance the situation. Like India (Nehru would be turning in his grave today) and Europe, if Russia too joins the American camp, God save the world.

      Besides, in real terms, America has not shown an ounce of goodwill towards Russia since the end of the cold war. America has been strengthening the NATO which is a war apparatus set up to counter the Soviet Russia. America has also been trying to expand NATO by inviting Georgia and other former Russian states to join NATO despite Russian protests. The proposal by U.S to set up an anti-missile nuclear shield in the proximity of Russian border is yet another unfriendly act that makes Russia unwary of American intentions.

      So, American overtures to improve relations with Russia is clearly fraught with very unsavoury consequences for not only Russia but to the rest of the world.

  3. 4 Nigel
    July 6, 2009 at 12:40

    A good functioning relationship between Europe and Russia is even more important.

  4. 5 patti in cape coral
    July 6, 2009 at 13:13

    I think relations can be improved, and it is important that they do improve. Obama seems to be more willing to use diplomacy, and is better at it than his predecesor (sp?).

    July 6, 2009 at 13:38

    They should agree on principle but should not on everything. This is because we are not yet ready for a unipolar world politics. After all diversity breeds a better democracy because we should not forget that some parts of the world might remain unrepresented.

    On issues relating to the World War II and the cold era, they continue to maintain a posture of unfinished business which has been the source of divisive politics and militancy on many sports globally. On this it would be in our interest for them to accept and be accomodative in order to minimize chances of a major war.

    Finally, even though they have been undertaking some misadventures every now and then, none of them has been careless to resort to nuclear confrontations. This is maturity and should maintained.

  6. 7 Dilli Sharma,ktm,Nepal
    July 6, 2009 at 13:59

    yes i think the world needs both Russia and the USA to go on smoothly until China and Indian take over their responsibilities.So its the high time both Obama and medvedev made some reasonable decisions on issues like nuclear war heads,global warming ,Iran and north Korea .America must also do something to get the world out of this economic mess which was started by America itself.if they keep pulling each other,s legs then they will sink down to the hell and take the rest of the world with them as well.so lets hope they will come up with something smart which is good both for them and all of us.

  7. 8 Tom K in Mpls
    July 6, 2009 at 14:04

    Stable with no antagonism is all that matters. And this applies to all countries. If there is no war within or outside of all borders, the rest is incidental ‘babel’. It’s easy to adapt when there is no war.

  8. 9 steve
    July 6, 2009 at 15:07

    I bet they consider it “bullying” to criticise them for attacking Georgia.

    • 10 Valentina
      July 7, 2009 at 11:06

      By the way… if you not aware, it is Georgia (South of Russia) who start the attack on Ossetia. Ossetia wish to be independant. Ossetia has a right to decided with whom they want to be and unfortunately for you it is not Georgia.

  9. 11 anu_D
    July 6, 2009 at 15:15

    Obama is a chimerical day-dreamer….as distanced from the Realpoltik of ruthless Russians and Chinese and Iranians and Koreans as North Pole is from the South.

    It is in their Realpoltikal agenda of the Russians and Chinese….to strive for global superamacy and that can be achieved by only by keeping America unsettled ….and not by becoming goody-goody friends with their main rival.

    Global super-powerdom aspirations and friendship with your nearest rival super-power are antithesis to each other…..unless USA is willing to concede it’s global supremacy…..and it won’t surprise me if Obama is willing to do that.

    Obama is actually suited to be an “eco-global-warming-world-peace-middle-east-harmony” type advisor to the US president…and not the president himself

  10. July 6, 2009 at 15:24

    Russia, Iran minus US! No!
    Russia, US minus Iran! No!
    US, Russia with Iran! Yes!

    • 13 Valentina
      July 7, 2009 at 11:08

      Good thinking! But Iran should be “loved” as it is… Iran shall be as people of Iran(not necessary rich) want it to be.

  11. July 6, 2009 at 15:42

    Unfortunately, Americans will never understand the Russian heart or what drives them without fully appreciating the suffering they endured during WWII. We have never experienced anything even remotely close to that kind of suffering. Check out this link. It may give you a glimpse: http://www.9may.ru/news/m10019094
    have a blessed day,

  12. 15 Elias
    July 6, 2009 at 15:50

    Im neither Russian nor American, but I am knowledgeable as to the history of both countries relationship since world War 2.
    The cultures of both countries are not the same, however they both have a common goal ie. to avoid war with each other. In order to do so there must be common ground for trusting each other in this unstable world so that both countries can work together to fend of the dangers of terrorism from outside sources and reduce the risk of third world countries developing weapons of mass destruction, like Iran and North Korea.

  13. 16 Roy, Washington DC
    July 6, 2009 at 15:55

    If the two major Cold War superpowers can one day unite, the possibilities are indeed endless. It won’t happen overnight, but improved US-Russian relations can only be a good thing.

    • July 7, 2009 at 09:42

      Roy, I commend your optimism. Starting point for a good relationship between the 2 Cold War superpowers might be to dismantle NATO, the Cold War apparatus, and not try to expand it, and also to scrap the provocative proposal to set up anti-nuclear shield outside the Russian border.

  14. 18 Bert
    July 6, 2009 at 15:59

    Yes, the US and Russia can and should get along. Seems to me that Russia is far more obsessed about how it is perceived in the US than the other way around.

    As far as I can tell, the big thorn in Russia’s side these days, which creates the continuing tensions with the West, is that many of the ex-Soviet states would much rather sever their ties with Russia and join the west instead. This trend is not front-page news in the West at all, but it is in Russian new constantly, and seems to be why Russia is always complaining about “we get no respect.”

    We have far more pressing issues to worry over, Russia and the West alike, than this now-ancient hisory. Russia should let go of its overbearing Soviet past.

  15. July 6, 2009 at 16:09

    Currently, there are many differences between Russia and the USA over different issues, especially NATO expansion.

    Russia will remain suspicious of the USA as now it is the single superpower on Earth while Russia is still struggling to be a feared state as it was under Communism and during and the cold War.

    While the USA is the most powerful economic and military power, Russia has only pride to keep distant from the USA, not to be swallowed by its culture and corporations.

    The US and Russia can get on as long as they keep direct military confrontations aside. However, there relations will remain conflictual as their competition extends to different parts of the world and neither will cede ground to the other. Each will continue to compete to have as many satellite states as possible. That in itself the seeds of growing and lasting tensions between what was once a giant and a current giant struggling not to be minimized in size.

  16. 20 rob z.
    July 6, 2009 at 16:12

    A good relationship with Russia will go along way in deeling with countries like North Korea and Iran.
    And also the world could benefit from Russia’s industrial resources,as well as energy resources.
    The Cold War way is dead.The threats to international stability come from the developing countries and dictatorships that are fighting for power and greed.

  17. 21 Gary Paudler
    July 6, 2009 at 16:17

    The Cold War Hangover is a deliberate distraction from the only real issue that matters to Russian and American politicians and that’s resources. Putin has masterfully manipulated the common Russian into believing that their national pride is at risk so they accept, or don’t see, the massive handouts to the ruling oligarchy. We in the US are so used to that system that most of us don’t perceive how it affects every aspect of our lives here in The Land of the Free. Obama seems more inclined to fiddle around the edges and will probably make some progress on social justice, maybe even influencing that direction in Russia, but the main show remains, here in the US and back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSR, the already-rich jostling for freebies (carbon credits, agricultural subsidies, broadcast bandwidth, and on and on) at the expense of the masses who are still distracted by worthless shiny baubles and kept insecure. It’s a delicate balance, but just the right amount of unemployment, food insecurity, debt and ill-health makes for a pliable public preoccupied with personal stress.
    Yeah, yeah, Russia whatever. They’ll agree to some non-binding nuclear disarmament goals and the Kremlin will get a lesson in PR to fine-tune their rhetoric about uppity provinces and satellites and after climate change has worked its magic Russian and American billionaires will divvy-up all the goodies where there used to be permafrost and ice caps. Aren’t we just so modern and progressive?

    Gary Paudler
    Summerland, California, USA

  18. July 6, 2009 at 16:25

    The core to any human interaction is sincerity in deeds. While it is true that is impossible for any two nations to agree on everything but there is a confluence of common interests which are usually protected in any cooperative ventures based our the perspicacity of the leaders in the negotiations. Once Obama and Medvedev sincerely dialogue for the common good of both nations, an agreement can be reached to mutually benefit both sides.

  19. 23 John in Salem
    July 6, 2009 at 16:28

    The U.S. and Russia together have over 16,000 nuclear warheads currently in stock. Since it is estimated that it would only take 200 to plunge the world into a nuclear winter it is in everyone’s best interest to promote better relations. Sooner or later some whacko is going to use one somewhere, and the tighter we are with all the other players makes it less likely that someone will overreact on their own when that day comes.

  20. 24 Anthony
    July 6, 2009 at 16:43

    Russians like to act tough, get violent, get drunk, “look cool” and over indulge. HECK YES they are like Americans!!! We should really join up. I think if they were to get over this whole “We hate America thing”, we could really help each other prosper. Imagine how much better the world would be with a Pro-West Russian 🙂 *sign

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 25 Peter_scliu
    July 6, 2009 at 16:53

    Savage animals will be peaceful as long as they are not hungry. Add in their ego, the human specie is even worse. Can a leopard loose its spots. Or the stars and stripes. 4-8 years later , will America forget and annul the disarmament treaty when they elect in a clone of Bush or LBJ?

  22. 26 globalcomedy
    July 6, 2009 at 16:56

    They can. But one key is for the States to follow thru on what they say.

    In a recent interview, Biden was quoted as saying “we respect the rights of soveriegn nations to do what they think is best for them” (we won’t stop Israel if they attack Iran). Does this mean that we’ll respect Russia’s decision to back Iran(if this happens)?

  23. July 6, 2009 at 17:04

    Yes, The U.S. and Russia realize that each other are responsible owners of nucular weapons. They are, we are, also the largest owners of them and share a joint interest in a co-operative union to guard against ever more (less responsible) nations and non-nation states from getting on board to threaten all life on the planet.

    America and Russia need once again to be allies in a very dangerous trend, that is as dangerous as were the ideaolgies, that were present during WWII.

    We both, as nations, went through the ramifications of what WWII left us with in regard to nipping off growing threats before they advanced into conflicts that produced millions of deaths from war. We have both grown, and we have both advanced to the understanding that for our mutual survival we have to form an allience once again.

    troop from the Oregon Coast

  24. 28 steve
    July 6, 2009 at 17:10


    there have been thousands of nuclear tests conducted since 1945, and there is no nuclear winter. If you want to read about the most powerful bomb ever tested, read about the Russian Tsar Bomba.

  25. 29 Anthony
    July 6, 2009 at 17:12

    @ steve
    July 6, 2009 at 15:07
    I bet they consider it “bullying” to criticise them for attacking Georgia.

    No, they consider it hypocritical.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  26. 30 chidi (from Minneapolis, US)
    July 6, 2009 at 17:29

    I think the politics between the US and Russia is about 10 years behind the cultural relationship between the two countries. If you look at the cultural advancements in both countries you will see that Americans and Russians are not that much different particularly among the younger generation.

  27. 31 Shannon
    July 6, 2009 at 17:40

    I am at once hopeful AND skeptical about improving U.S./Russian relations. So much distrust remains. The cold war ended, but many officials on BOTH sides persistantly fail to understand that the world is a very different place now. The fact that the George W. Bush administration (full of old-style Cold War-era thinkers like Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney) has been replaced with President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s “reset button” approach is a good start: That is all it is, though–a largely ceremonial start.

  28. 32 steve
    July 6, 2009 at 17:43

    @ Anthony

    And it’s not hypocritical of the russians as well, given you know, they took Sakhalin Island, they took over Manchuria, etc after WW2 ended, and basically installed friendly governments in China, North Korea, N. Vietnam, and eastern europe? All you’ve got is Iraq?

  29. 33 Stephen in Portland/Oregon
    July 6, 2009 at 17:44

    America needs to promote tensions with other countries, so they can keep the Industrial Military Complex in place and all the defense contracts that go with it.

  30. 34 Andrew in Australia
    July 6, 2009 at 17:46

    Nope. Russia has the little man inferiority complex and as long as they have leaders such as Putin lurking about with his pouty looks and bare chested hunting photo-ops it seems it is not likely to change any time soon. Russia may have a nuclear arsenal and some leadership in natural resources or space technology it is not really up to rubbing shoulders with the big boys and apart from a fear of the taps being turned off, no one really thinks Russia is that important any longer. Eventually the decay of its structure and its politics will see it fall in a heap and lose any influence it has in the world.

  31. July 6, 2009 at 17:46

    It is very heartening to see that Russia and America are reaching out to each other. The two super-powers realise that better relationship is in their common interest. Presidents Obama and Mededev have had substantive talks. There seems to be good chemistry between the two leaders which augurs well for the future and eliminates the earlier characteristic mistrust especially during the Bush Presidency. The talks between President Obama and Prime Minister Putin will be very closely watched as Putin obviously has considerable clout. Watching President Mededev has been a revealation. He seems to be in command but one wonders how independent he is of Putin!

  32. 36 John in Salem
    July 6, 2009 at 17:56

    Only a tiny fraction of the N-tests of the 50’s were land surface tests – most were ocean, surface or underwater, or in space, and land testing was either underground or in open desert with very little to burn. The 50 megaton Tsar Bomba was done in a area of steppe which was very similar to open desert.
    The nuclear winter scenario postulates 200 average yield 2 megaton tactical warheads on 200 major cities and silo locations. Nothing – no volcanic eruptions, forest fires or dust storms – not even the cloud covers of the last Ice Ages – have ever come close to creating the density of the blanket that would cover the earth from a full scale war.

  33. 37 terry
    July 6, 2009 at 18:04

    The question is not can the people of the U.S. and Russia get on , we can. The question is can the two governments plot a course without interference by their respective domestic politics.

  34. 38 Lynn
    July 6, 2009 at 18:06

    I am hopeful that Russia and the U.S. can find some common grounds to build a 21st Century alliance based on mutual goals. And of all the leaders the U.S. has had, President Obama is more likely to succeed than his predecessors in achieving such an alliance.

    That said, I see obstacles to success. The biggest being that we are countries of people with memories of past threats and deceits and our collective mistrust will take more than pressing a reset button, fine speeches, or vigorous handshakes- none of which means anything unless actions supporting these symbolic gestures are forthcoming.

    As with any endeavor between two disparate entities, the giving and receiving of mutual trust is the first step. The leaders, politicians, and advisors of both countries believe they know and understand where the other is coming from and base their actions on these beliefs. But, the architecture of these beliefs continues to comes almost entirely from the Cold War Era, a time when survival depended on mistrust. In this milieu the best we can expect is guarded cooperation in selective venues of mutual benefit. But, at least that would be a start.

    I am hopeful… but with reservations. Less flag waving and chest thumping and more hard core diplomacy, real 21st Century Intelligence with accurate analysis of that Intel will be required to develop 21st Century knowledge and mutual understanding and I hope we can achieve this within the next decade.

  35. 39 David
    July 6, 2009 at 18:11

    Obam is trying very hard to help make a safer world.

  36. 40 steve
    July 6, 2009 at 18:17

    Just so your guest knows, the CNN you see off satellite in Europe, is NOT the same CNN we see here in the US. I only can see the International CNN when I am overseas. It’s completely different, so whatever they say about Russia on there, Americans don’t see unless they are abroad.

  37. 41 steve
    July 6, 2009 at 18:23

    Given Russia has a history of installing governments in the Czech Republic (and militarily stopping protests against the government) and also in Poland, what right does Russia have to tell Poland and the Czech republic what they can do on their territory? The reasons why Russians are SO HATED in eastern europe, was how they brutally treated the people that live there.

    • 42 David
      July 6, 2009 at 19:06

      Can you be more specific on how exactly people in Eastern Europe were treated?

    • 43 Valentina
      July 8, 2009 at 06:28

      I am from Eastern Europe, from Latvia. Very few people actually hate Russia, it is all politics. People easily get brainwashed nowadays and for some politics it is easier to build career on nationalism, to cover their dysfunction.
      If hater towards Russia is your personal feeling, please do not apply it on everyone.

      My granddad was in concentrate camp in Germany, do you think I shall hate Germany for that?

      Being born in USSR at least I had a good childhood, free education, free healthcare and learn tolerance towards other nations.

      Repressions had place between 1927 and 1953. Around 25,000,000 people were affected, my family as well. Those people mainly was Russians, for example from Latvia 40,000 was deported, this makes 0.0016%. Those repressions were result of ruling of Stalin. However, if not his politics towards industrialization, Russia had very few chances to beat Germany in WWII.

      Stalin by the way was not Russian, but Georgian.

      But “Better forget and smile, than remember and to be angry!”

  38. 44 Petr
    July 6, 2009 at 18:28

    I am afraid we are only witnessing history repeating itself again.
    Ruthless rulers of Kremlin are without a blink of an eye and making any concessions themselves exploiting the naivety of Obama.

  39. 45 Anuj
    July 6, 2009 at 18:29

    Hats off to Obama for paving the red carpet to all American foes at the time of Bush administration….. The way the Muslim world was addressed by Obama was the marvelous historical steps for leading world towards peace and prosperous way.So the ties between USA and Russia should also foster the relationship in the same direction as Obama’s slogan dictates ” Yes we can”……….

    • July 6, 2009 at 18:54


      do you really think that Obama is going good in the world? all he really is doing is “Apologizing” for America around the world. why should he apologize if we have done nothing wrong? As an African American I believe that Obama is not the type of guy we need for the job. we need a man of action, not someone who will spend $800 billion at the drop of a hat.

  40. 47 steve
    July 6, 2009 at 18:42

    If your biggest point is that The Baltic states discriminate against Russians, WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE US?

    • 48 David
      July 6, 2009 at 19:02

      It does, because Russians who are not connected and elected are discriminated in this country as well.

      • 49 Valentina
        July 8, 2009 at 06:38

        it is not only about election.. as well employment and business.. not all jobs and type of businesses non-Latvian speaking could access.

  41. 50 Charley
    July 6, 2009 at 18:43

    If Eastern Europe can be invited to join NATO, why not Russia itself?

    If we now have friendly relations, why can we not be formal allies?

  42. July 6, 2009 at 18:54

    I think if we where to take away Obama and Putin from this equation of international equation we would be able to find a lot of things in common between our countries. I have nothing bad to say about the Russians. It’s always the leaders of our countries that try to make us feel like we are seperate peoples. But deep down without Obama and Putin in the way we have a lot of positive things to relate on. World leaders should be abolishded and people should be allowed to rule.

  43. 52 Chrissy in Portland
    July 6, 2009 at 18:54

    I think that there are still serious trust issues between Russians and Americans. In Portland, we have quite a large Russian population. It’s been my personal experience that the majority of the Russian immigrants here in the US keep completely to themselves. They seem to only go Russian owned businesses, churches etc. My husband works in the car trade and has worked very closely with many Russian people. On a daily basis English speaking Russian customers coming to his place of employment for services would flat out refuse to let him help them in any way and would insist on only dealing with other Russians.

    How do we think we can win over the people of Russia, when we can’t seem to connect to the Russian immigrants already living in the states?

  44. 53 Maxim
    July 6, 2009 at 18:57

    Leaving issues of trust aside i think it is important to see this day as a dawn of a new beginning, something people have been waiting for for decades. Maybe it would be better to see this day as something like the day Nixon visited China in 1972. Many in both countries and elsewhere were skeptical but no one can deny what the larger significance of that trip.

  45. 54 David
    July 6, 2009 at 18:59

    Speaking of foreign travel, large number of visitors visa are denied to Russians who want to visit the U.S. under often undetermined reasons. Russian people travel all over the world but U.S. retains a double standard when it comes to issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. This gap is being filled by both countries media sources where in the U.S. they are owned by a handful of families and in Russia by the State.

    It’s time for peoples diplomacy to replace these practices. Both countries’ Department of States should reconsider their policies.

  46. 55 Derek in Vienna
    July 6, 2009 at 18:59

    The Russians eventually need to recognize the real danger to themselves and their mafia government: their communist step-child China.

    Russia and the US cannot be allies as far as Russia continues to support dictatorships and fraudulent elections everywhere. The two nations are not competitors, as Russia is so far off the map in terms of world affairs (aside from their arms industry), but Russia will eventually need to come to Europe or someone for collective defense.

    Russia (or the US) has no right to dictate anything about the nations on Russia’s borders. They are sovereign democracies, and have the right to chose to associate with the US and Europe as they want. A nation on Russia’s border must be insane not to want this. Do Russians really believe that Georgia or the Ukraine want to have a government like Russia?

  47. 56 Jennifer
    July 6, 2009 at 19:03


    (I think that’s my shortest comment ever!:) )

  48. 57 Timur, Moscow
    July 6, 2009 at 19:04

    NATO won’t ever invite Russia join it. That block was design to OPPOSE the Warsaw pact and haven’t changed much since then.

    Can the US and Russia get on? Probably, but if you differentiate between people of the US and Russia, and governments of the both, then you’d realize that all that is needed for the people to get alone well is the mass media in both countries that will show the positive side of another country as well. What do we see now? Russia still, as it was the case with USSR, in western mass media is an evil empire. The West, the US in particular, is russian mass media is the country with desire to dominate the whole world and dictate every state there is. Change that, and the perception of each other in these two countries, two nations, will change.
    If you talk about the governments then I think that the best they could do is sticking to its words. In the early 90’s the west promised they will never expand NATO more than it was then. Since then, they broke their word twice. When one can’t trust the words of the other, there will be no trust at all. The same goes with this radar and antirocket missiles in Eastern Europe today. The US says and promises that these systems aren’t meant against russian ballistic rockets. Having the fact with broken word in NATO question, would you trust these promises again, if you were on russian side of the problem?

  49. 61 Kathryn
    July 6, 2009 at 19:04

    I think a friendly and co-operative relationship is desirable… Although there may be some Russians who won’t agree with me…

    For many years Russian people were told that America and other Western countries were Russia’s enemies who sought its collapse… They had no chance to verify this and took it for granted… A similar thing was happening in the West and the US… Often when I hear foreigners talking about Russia and Russians I’m surprised by how little they actually know and understand this country… They also often sound as if they are saying things they heard from their politicians and the media…

    There are changes in mutual attitudes… particularly among the younger generations… Hopefully the two presidents live up to this new way of thinking…

    I hope that some day relations between Russia and the developed world would be free from mutual suspicion… The key word being mutual.. Yes, we have the inferiority complex and the loss of global influence was taken painfully… Yet, in my opinion, the real reason remains largely misunderstood… In the Soviet context common people had very little chance for significant achievements they could be proud of… So many took pride in being part of that vast and powerful country… When it collapsed, they took it as a personal offence…

    If there’s more understanding and less stereotype thinking on both parts… If the US and the west are prepared to take Russia the way it is – like they take other countries… If politicians don’t capitalise on the existing differences… There can be friendly and cooperative relations between us… But we shouldn’t rely solely on politicians for that to happen…

    • 62 Derek in Vienna
      July 6, 2009 at 21:42

      This is exactly why the US and Russia cannot agree on most things: we were never “proud” of being a vast and powerful nation. Almost no one cares about that in the US… Americans just care about their sports and basic things in life. Americans do care about democracy and freedom, and this is primarily why we have differences with Russia today. The only thing that has resonance with the otherwise unpolitical American public is the defense of democracy (even when it may be dangerous to try to promote that, viz. Iraq, Egypt, etc.).

      We are proud that West Germany is a free nation because of our defense of it. We are also proud of South Korea and Japan. Most Americans are ashamed that we allowed the Poles to be ruined by the Soviets, and our political class will stop at nothing to ensure that this does not happen again to the Eastern European nations. I also believe we have an obligation to prevent Russia from ruining Georgia’s democracy. Are the Russians not ashamed of what has happened to Cuba, North Korea, or Vietnam? Would Russians like to live in those countries?

      We must take Russia the way it is, and that is why our relations with Russia will never be like those with Canada, Germany, Poland, Japan, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, etc., but more like those with an armed form of Libya or China.

      The inferiority complex should not be limited to a comparison with the US. Russia’s economy is the barely larger than Spain’s (despite being the largest exporter of nickel, lumber, gas, and a major oil exporter–these are not technological achievements, mind you). Certainly, the political culture of Russia in worlds behind every nation in Europe. Greatness does not come from destroying others, but from building great things.

  50. July 6, 2009 at 19:39

    This is a best start for two country to have good relationship. I realy like what Obama is doing to the world. simple making peace.

  51. 64 Bert
    July 6, 2009 at 20:57

    I didn’t understand the repeated point made, concerning how ethnic Russians are treated in the Baltic states. Excuse me, but what would anyone expect? Ethnic Russians, who apparently don’t want to learn the local language, and who are ethnically tied to those that brutally repressed these countries for 50 years or so? Why would anyone be surprised?

    Any immigrant group that refuses to assimilate will always be looked on with distrust and even dislike. It happens in the US too. That argument will hardly gain sympathy for Russians.

    It is very possible that the US was too hasty in siding with Georgia last year, concerning their actions in South Ossetia and the subsequent Russian invasion. The problem is, that Russian invasion smacked too much of Soviet actions we had witnessed for decades before. So yes, that is the problem distrust causes.

    It would be tremedously helpful to the West, I think, if Russians didn’t appear to look fondly at their Soviet past as being “glorious.” Being feared is not exactly something to be proud of.

    I’m very hopeful that the youth of Russia can move beyond the Soviet nostalgia of their seniors. I don’t place a whole lot of importance on these meetings between “leaders.” The best they can do is set a tone. The generation of 30-somethings and younger are, instead, our real hope.

  52. 65 RightPaddock
    July 6, 2009 at 21:23

    We should not to limit ourselves to viewing the relationship between the Russia and the West solely through the prism of the Cold War.

    Hostility and suspicion between the two goes back to at least the early 19th century, when it was called the Great Game. If you regard the Great Game as an issue between the British & Russian Empires, that had nothing to do with the US, consider the following.

    The reconstruction of the Russian Navy was a factor in President Theodore Roosevelt’s decision sent the Great White Fleet on its voyage around the world 1907, the potential threat of the Japanese Navy was of course another factor in that decision.

    According to Walter Russell Meade, a highly respected US historian, the US is the successor to the British Empire, just as the Republic of Rome was the successor to the Greek Empire, i.e.there’s a continuity of overall philosophy and purpose.

    Russia’s not finding it easy to build a market based economy (as compared to say China) and democracy is not yet firmly established – there’s no free press, there’s no independent judiciary, there’s no transparency. And on many social indicators its going backwards, life expectancy, drug use, alcoholism, crime etc.

    I wish Russia would get on with building free market democracy, rather than being obsessed with how much power may or may not have, or be perceived to have or not have. Its people would live better and it could contribute much more to solving global problems such as climate change, poverty, nuclear proliferation, global terrorism etc.

  53. 66 Jim Newman
    July 6, 2009 at 22:00

    Hello again
    Personally I think the thorn in the eye of both Russians and the rest of Europe is NATO. NATO was set up by the USA to stem the tide of socialism militarily. The Warsaw Pact was set up as an answer to NATO.
    When the Soviet Union collapsed the reason for NATO should have collapsed also. But, surprise, surprise, other rolls for NATO were found. The fight against ‘terrorism’. The fiendish Kadafi ordered the Lockerbie disaster and all of a sudden bombs were raining down on Libia in the name of NATO. NATO had found another roll in the world.
    Now NATO is at the forefront of the war against ‘terrorism’.
    NATO is now fighting in Afganistan against the Taliban.
    NATO is also recruiting members in the ex-soviet union block.
    NATO is spreading all over the world like a disease. First the enemy was communism which was defined by the USA as something undesirable. Now the enemy is ‘terrorism’ which escapes definition because any internationally accepted definition is opposed by the USA. One wonders why.
    At the moment NATO consists of two parts. One is political whose directorship is passed around amongst the member states and the other is military whose directorship is and always has been firmly in the hands of the USA.
    If anyone can answer the question: what is the real roll of NATO in the world. Then that person can also answer the question whether Russia and the USA can ever get on.

  54. 67 Brian from Ca.
    July 6, 2009 at 22:18

    Why doesn’t Russia give up the idea of reasserting empire and regional military competition with NATO? The real threats to both are: internal ethic and political divisions, economic malaise, asymmetrical terrorist attack and environmental degradation. What can vainglorious empire, weapons of mass destruction, and military competition do to solve these problems?
    Degrading nuclear arsenals are expensive to maintain and more dangerous to the country where they’re stationed than any alleged enemy.
    For that matter, in an internet linked, economically interdependent world, with interlaced ruling elites, war itself may be just so much history other than internationally sanctioned “police actions”.

  55. 68 Justin Durueke
    July 7, 2009 at 00:27

    The United States and Russia both have up to 16,000 stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Both countries can get along but one must always remember that national interests come first. During the Bush era, relations between Washington and Moscow was at its lowest because of issues like missile defense system,Georgia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, North Korea and Israel. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has continued to feel inferior to the West especially to the United States. I applaud President Obama’s overtures to the Russian Prime Minister (Medvedev). As the most powerful nations in the world, a joint effort will go a long way in confronting some of the global challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. Some challenges like international terrorism, poverty, arms proliferation and ecological problems. As has been said by many, international relations is all about permanent interest not permanent friends. Time will tell how the Obama & Medvedev (Putin) led administrations confront these issues facing mankind.

  56. 69 Saut
    July 7, 2009 at 00:42

    I trust the Russians more the U.S. Americans. U.S. Americans are only good at making friends for commercial interests but very poor at teaching their friends anything else. Look at Iran, USA couldn’t even teach the Shah how to run the country. Same with Pakistan, a member of now defunct CENTO, never learn anything from USA and now degenerated into a near failed state. Even their nearest neighbours, Canada and Mexico, learn nothing from USA democracy. Canada inherited the English Parliamentary Democracy. Mexico, after a number of dictatorships, was a one-party state till year 2000 when the PRI lost the Mexican Presidency. Furthermore, Liberia with its chequered history, is a failed student of democracy inspite of its long association with USA.
    The Iron Curtain collapsed the day the Russians called it quits on communism. Warsaw Pact is now gone, NATO is still around and for what purpose? NATO coudn’t even handle the Afghanistan and Iraqi problems when their main ally and member, USA went to war.
    It is the USA who is stuck in the past, a poor progenitor and teacher of democratic ideals. However Russia as in the past could be counted on when a deal is struck, ask China, Japan and Vietnam.

  57. 70 globalcomedy
    July 7, 2009 at 03:06

    Recently, Russian media was told to be more aggressive in their reporting on the States. Is this still the case? I haven’t heard/seen any English language Russian media lately.

  58. 71 Dennis Junior
    July 7, 2009 at 04:05

    Claudia and the WHYS:
    i hope that usa and russia can get it on regarding diplomacy in the world…since, there are many things that these 2 countries can work on…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  59. 72 RightPaddock
    July 7, 2009 at 05:23

    In yesterdays World Update program, Russians from an Economics College were interviewed they were waxing lyrical over Obama, which is in stark contrast to what the BBC reports here — http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8135394.stm In part the report says

    A University of Maryland opinion poll released on Sunday suggests
    that 75% of Russians believe the US abuses its greater power and
    only 2% have “a lot of confidence” that Mr Obama will do the right
    thing in world affairs.

    I rather suspect a university conducted poll will be closer to the truth than a sanitised vox pop from the BBC World Service, oops I forgot its only the BBC World Service in name, whereas it’s actually the BBC American Service.

    @steve – its not just CNN that sanitises the news you get, so does the BBC

  60. July 7, 2009 at 05:47

    What a good start for two countries that have considered each as an adversary. Looking at Obama’s leadership style and I believe left with him alone, the America and Russia will have a cordial relationship based on the principles of trust and mutual respect. My only fear is that, Russia must drop it cow attitude of viewing every one with suspicion and learn to trust other people. However, even though Russia is guilty of the above, it also true that Europe has most times treated Russia with contempt. I believe that for the world to realize its goal of peace and progress, powerful countries such as the US, Russia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and China needs to team up as one entity and deviate from their selfish petty interest at the detriment of other nations. I know this suggetion may be viewed with disdain by other countries as recolonization, but if it is what it takes to put rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea under control and rid them of their nuclear weapons, so be it. Since US has made this first move, Russia should make the second move on coming up with an idea that would make the world a better place to leave. Forget about wealth, wealth is not everything.

  61. 75 Sulayman Dauda
    July 7, 2009 at 10:41

    can the west ever be call East? if so then Russia and USA can ever get on.

  62. 76 Ibrahim in UK
    July 7, 2009 at 12:18

    Russia under Putin will not accept that it has become a marginal power which should voluntarily become subservant to US command.
    We have two powers competing over the influence and control of the same finite earth. Man does not like sharing power. Any mutual interests are only temporary until one side can drive home their advantage.
    Where are Russian interests better protected? In partnership with a distrusting West? Or in partnership with a booming China?

  63. 77 K.Anaga
    July 7, 2009 at 14:53

    Why not.?in the interest of the world they should get together and set an example. If these countries can get together the need for other countries to develop nuclear weapons may not arise. Further the money thus saved could be used for poverty elevation,
    The need for smaller countries to take sides will be greatly reduced
    Of course both countries must display sincerity in their efforts and action ..

  64. 78 brucka
    July 7, 2009 at 15:50

    I wish they would get along better – the visa process is a real pain. ‘Free’ travel between the two countries would go a long way towards ‘mutual respect’ and lessening of tensions – in all arenas.

  65. 79 Jason Davis
    July 9, 2009 at 21:04

    America and Russia ‘both’ need grievances with other countries when not currently with each other. How else could they justify spending so much money over the years on military budgets and science directly related to military use.

    The ‘aggression’ is a tool to support the need for having them in the first place. It has become self-sustaining. There is too much money to be made. They have really reduced us to that. A folk that is willing to work for war, support it, sacrifice lives from our family’s for it, follow and vote for false and corrupt MPs who decide to go to war based on have/have not, colour and religion, gang creed or natural resources. We all have adopted the wrong attitudes from our governments and ‘top’ politicians.

    Whether you have faith in more than reality as we know it or not, it is counter producticve, childish, a waste of resources and a shame on humanity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: