America is Neither Friend Nor Foe (Gazeta, Russia)
Are the United States and Russia in the midst of a new Cold War over Syria, Iran, U.S. charges of Russian corruption and a host of other issues? Not at all! For Russia’s Gazeta, columnist Fyodor Lukyanov writes that what is playing out now is, ‘just the normal game of diplomacy played by great unallied powers exerting themselves to achieve a desired result.’
For Gazeta, Fyodor Lukyanov starts off this way:
Sociological service, the Pew Research Center, has published the results of a new global survey of public attitudes on American politics. Among the most notable results is a marked decline in approval for Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Compared with 2009, the number of those who approve of his foreign policy in China has dropped 30 percent, Japan and Muslim countries by 19 percent and in Europe by 15 percent. In Russia, the decline was 18 percent.
In general, the causes of this decline are clear. It would have been impossible for anyone to live up to the level of expectation associated with Barack Obama’s election victory. Especially as the first Black president of the United States was so generous with his promises, pledging to forge a new strategy for American leadership. As it turned out, little of this was achieved, as Obama had to spend most of his time responding to chaotic change in different parts of the world rather than working toward achieving his stated goals.
Russia’s drop of confidence in Obama is more surprising than in other countries, because Russians were less affected by Obama-mania in 2008 than was the rest of humanity.
More than anywhere else, the prevalent conviction among Russians has been that the name and personality of the president matter little: the U.S. maintains an attitude (hostile to Russia, naturally) which does not change. That sentiment should have prevented any disappointment, particularly in light of the catastrophic legacy left by Bush. Any successor of his was doomed to attempt to remedy the situation, because in the fall of 2008, the circumstances that had evolved were the most dire since the early Reagan years.
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