Center for Strategic Decision Research


Russia's Integration into the Western Community

Dr. Serguey Rogov
Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences


By way of an introduction, I am the director of a small think-tank within the Russian Academy of Sciences called the Institute of the United States and Canada. At our institute, which has 250 people on staff and operates a mini-university, we are trying to develop more than 100 new Russian experts on international security and, with other colleagues, achieve some practical results. 


I very much like the title of my panel, "Russia's New Global Strategic Role: Linking the U.S., Europe and Asia" because it defines Russia as a new strategic link. But since I am one of those people who always see the glass as half empty, not half full, I am going to focus on what I consider to be the most serious problems in Russia-Western relations and then suggest some possible solutions. 


Russia should become a political democracy and be based on a market economy. This will take time to accomplish, but when it is reality Russia should belong to the community of political democracies and market economies. This should be the goal. However, 12 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, Russia still has no integration strategy and the West has no strategy for integrating Russia. 

There is a strategy for integrating Romania, the Czech Republic, and Poland. But with Russia, if you go beyond smiles and promises, there is no clear vision of how we will reach the goal of integration. In my view, this is a big mistake. Because we have no strategy, we must deal with how to do it piecemeal, and some of the old problems have come back. And we continue not to find solutions to these problems as well as to the new challenges. 

Security Systems

Though problems continue, it does not mean that the arms-control regime we inherited from the Cold War, which was institutionalized in the ABM Treaty, SALT, and START, is almost dead, or that a big bad George W. and his friends do not like arms control. Rather, the arms-control regime we inherited was the arms control for the bipolar system, for two superpowers who knew they had reached parity because each could create a symmetrical threat. But, now, who can possibly create a symmetrical threat to the United States?  Nobody. In this sense, the Moscow treaty on strategic offensive reduction may be the last agreement of this kind, and may not last for the decade-plus period defined. It would be a big mistake to think that the Russia-America bilateral arms-control regime could be the backbone of an international security system that is not bipolar. 

In 2000, George W. Bush said it was necessary to go beyond mutually assured destruction. I think this is absolutely correct. Russia and the United States should not be locked into mutually assured nuclear deterrence forever. Yes, Russia has nuclear weapons, but the United Kingdom and France can also destroy each other. And whatever the relationship between Mr. Blair and M. Chirac, there is no mutually assured nuclear deterrence model between France and the United Kingdom. Why can't the Russia-America relationship be something like the French-British relationship? It may not be perfect, but it is basically not based on confrontation in the strategic nuclear field. 

My suggestion is that, taking into account the fact that the Moscow strategic offensive treaty does not promise much but also does not prohibit much, we use this umbrella to go beyond. We should use the deeper strategic offensive reduction to start much more serious strategic operations, in particular in the field of ballistic missile defense. This is of course a special topic, but I am mentioning it because the two presidents signed the strategic statement in May 2002, committing themselves to cooperate in ballistic missile defense, but since then, nothing has been done. 

Nuclear Deterrence

Even if everything were perfect in Russia-America relations, we still face a multilateral nuclear relationship in our international system. And unlike Russia and the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, and Israel have no rules of the game. Do we know how to manage this kind of multilateral relationship? Can we apply traditional arms-control norms to this situation? And how are we going to assign quotas? Why should China have a lesser number of nuclear weapons than Russia? And what are the objective criteria? As everyone knows, there has been no objective criteria between the Soviet Union and the United States. The criteria used to be parity, but when you have more than two players, and players such as India, Pakistan, and a few others who de facto violated the MAD regime, it is difficult to bring them to some kind of arrangement with rules without rewarding them for doing what they did. 

Conceptually we simply do not know how to create a multilateral regime that is not based on zero, so we should probably think about some Russian-American initiatives that promote greater transparency, greater information exchange, greater confidence-building measures, and other limited steps that nevertheless will help us deal with this problem. With all the present concentration on new challenges, terrorist threats, and so on, managing the relationships between nations such as China and India and the United States and Russia is tremendously important, because anything might happen in Kashmir tomorrow. 


It is my belief that the Russia-America relationship could serve as an important tool for initiating new multilateral steps. Let me be very clear here that I am not arguing for the ruling of the superpowers: Russia is simply not a superpower, and though the United States may believe it is a superpower that is their problem, although sometimes it is our problem. I am not claiming parity with the United States. What I am saying is that we have experience dealing with some of these difficult problems, and it is only Russia and the United States that can lead others in thinking seriously about the issues, because during the very difficult days of the Cold War we were able, more or less successfully, to manage our vital issues. 


All of the above leads me to the question of institutionalizing the Russia-West relationship-whether or not Russia should become "a full member of the Western community," in NATO or in the European Union. Some people may claim that membership may not count much anymore, because you know what happened to NATO. I disagree with those who think this way, but there could still be other arrangements, other types of "coalitions of the willing." We saw such an arrangement in Afghanistan, when Russia played a role there that may have been more important than the role played by any NATO member except perhaps the United Kingdom. 

As to the Russia-America mutual security treaty, when we think about strategic relations, we always think about arms control. But several years after the Cold War ended, the United States signed a mutual security treaty with Japan. It was renewed in 1994. Now, 12 years after the end of the Cold War, do we think about stronger institutional arrangements than such loose arrangements as the Russia-NATO Council? 

Finally, I believe that Russia's greatest contribution to global security and to managing relations with Europe, Asia, and America could be in the economic field, not in the traditional military field. That is because if you look at today's global economy, you will see three major centers: the North American NAFTA, the European Union, and something that is growing throughout East Asia, sometimes defined as ASEAN + 3 (China, South Korea, and Japan). The latter started regular discussions and has been expanding trade and investment between Asia and Europe since 1996. These so-called ASEMs (Asia-European summits) have created the second largest global economic highway if you do not count the highway to North America. 

Now, what percentage of this highway goes to Russia? 0.7%. That means, realistically speaking, that Russia, a great Eurasian country, is outside European integration and outside what seems to be the beginning of East Asian integration. But we should be in the middle of this process.  We could tremendously facilitate trade and economic activities taking place between the European Union and East Asia, activities that could be crucial to the development of Russia's infrastructure. Once you go beyond Moscow, you know, not everything is shining so wonderfully. This strategy would keep all regions of Russia, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, together. It would provide a completely different perspective on the whole issue of Kaliningrad, and be the gate to transcontinental economic development.


The kind of economic interdependence that today exists between Europe and America, and perhaps between Japan and America, is lacking in Russia-Western economic relations. We need a strategy that will take into account military aspects and political aspects, but also economic and institutional aspects.  

One final point: right now Russia is not a member of ASEM. But do you know why this is? It is because, as our friends in the European Union so wonderfully say, only members from the EU can join. Russia is free to join ASEM as an Asian country. We say thanks, but no thanks.


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