Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff on Russia: Friend or Foe?

Guest blogger Nicole Daddario reports on Dr. Mankoff's session on Russia:

Dr. Jeffery Mankoff is a specialist in Eurasian/Russian affairs and an adjunct fellow for Russian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also the Associate Director of International Security Studies at Yale University.

In his session, Dr. Mankoff examined the evolution of Russian policy toward the United States and provided insight of how Russian priorities have shifted. He said that posing the question "Friend or Foe" is vindictive. Russia is neither a friend or foe of the United States. It is more of a self focused entity. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is no longer the super power it once was. As a result, the nature of the international system has changed. There have been many ups and downs between Russia and the United States since the Cold War; periods of productive relations, and periods of complications.

Dr. Mankoff spot of the Soviet Union's collapse in late 1991, which was the beginning of the end of Communism. The relationship between Russia and the United States grew stronger. Russian President Boris Yeltsin implemented privatization reforms and was supported by the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. However, the reforms had a negative effect on Russia, and resulted in the rise of poverty and the deterioration of Russia's stability. Later in the 1990's, the United States and Russia had disagreed on the decision to support Serbia in the Kosovo War. From there, the United States and Russia continued to have a roller coaster relationship. The most recent status of the relationship between these two countries is mostly on good terms, as the Obama Administration and Russian President Dmitry Medvede struck up better terms at a conference in 2009. Obama's administration does not consider Russia to be the enemy.

In conclusion, Dr. Mankoff pointed out that Russia has been known to have an unstable economy, but they do have the ability to modernize nuclear systems at a rapid rate. It is important that the United States works with Russia to mitigate any potential threats in the future. Figuring out economic cooperation is the future biggest issue.

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