“ ” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Provide three well-discussed reasons for your response.
The three biggest countries in the world with large population, political and economic ambitious are the United States of America, Russia and China. Their relationships are also referred to as “Triangular Geopolitics”. Looking back on historic background, these three countries always seemed to be in undetermined relations as either competitors, adversaries or friends. In the period of Cold War they were definitely adversaries, while in some spheres they are still competitors, but, without a doubt, they are friends in questions of national security. They are working on establishing diplomatic relations and involving one another in different projects such as military trainings and others. Not only the USA is searching for a dialogue with Russia and China, but this country is also warming their relations. Today countries are working upon keeping peace by saving national interests. In order to provide support for the statement that Russia is more important for national interests of the USA then China, three well-discussed reasons and some examples from history and today will be provided.
The first reason is, of course, national security and world peace. The story of relations between Russia and the United States goes deep through history. As friends they are seen during the World War II, like in the proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. However, it was not about Russia as an independent state, but about the USSR, the biggest federation in the world with a great level of influence in Europe and Asia. The diplomatic relations during the Soviet period were under tension, especially during the Cold War. The steal curtain fell down only after Gorbachev became the general secretary and brought his “new thinking” to the foreign policy. “Glsanost”, “Perestroika” and non-intervention in the Soviet bloc and Eastern Europe were his main fresh ideas. During this period the Berlin Wall was destroyed, and two parts joined together, as a symbolic reunion of the USA and the USSR. The main idea was to reduce the tension by eliminating nuclear weapon and withdrawing Soviet troops from Afghanistan. In the 1980s the nuclear freeze movement started. It produced some key agreements that are still actual today:
SALT – Strategic Arm Limitation Treaty – in 1970s in the period of Cold War (“Office of the historian”, 2013);
START – Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (1990s-2000s):
START, 1991 between George H.W. Bush and Gorbachev about cutting the nuclear weapons from 13000 (USA) and 11000 (Russia) to 6 000.
the Lisbon Protocol, 1992 where was dissolved by the Soviet Union that the nuclear weapons were also in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan. The former republics, now independent countries agreed to pass its weapons to Russia. The hardest agreement was between Russia and Ukraine.
START II, 1993 was signed by Clinton and Yeltsin to lower the limit to 3 000 – 3 500 (“Office of the historian”, 2013);
2002 SORT (Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty) signed by G.W. Bush and Putin cuts the weapons to the range of 1700-2200.
NEW START 2010: Obama and Medvedev agreed to cut to 1550 each by 2017.
Thus, this was a historical example of cooperation of this both countries in the question of national security. They have reached the consensus in the nuclear weapons problem. Russia is a member of National Security Council. It has a right of veto, so it is better to keep good relations in the name of peace. Today another problem of the redistribution of spheres of influence has arisen. For almost a quarter of the century, the United States have been claiming to be against the return to the spheres of influence in the form in which they have existed during the Cold War. In fact, in 2013 the Secretary of State John Kerry officially rejected the Monroe Doctrine. Presidents one by one were talking about “the whole and free Europe” and that states should rely on themselves while building their external relations. Such a policy had real consequences, especially in Europe. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the number of NATO members has increased from 16 to 28 countries, and the European Union – from 11 to 28. Although, it is not enough to simply oppose the return to the spheres of influence when no major power is not actively trying to recover them.
Now Russia is employing the methods of hybrid war trying to seize territory in Europe, while China uses a strategy of territorial claims in the South China Sea. Russia and China are very different countries, but their strategy of territorial expansion causes the United States to face a very serious problem. In this hard situation the US acts as mediator and controls the situation, but still stays opposes any interventions or radical actions. Of course, in the Ukrainian crisis, or Ukrainian conflict, the US and Europe see Russia as an aggressor. As a method of opposition, they use different political and economical instruments such as sanctions. All the past events, including the annexation of Crimea, made the Russian positions on the world stage worse. In connection with the political crisis in early 2014 in Ukraine and the situation around the Republic of Crimea, the US administration has taken a number of measures, which may adversely affect the further development of trade and economic relations between Russia and the United States. As the initiative of the American side, in March 2014 negotiations have been suspended for the modernization of the legal framework of trade and economic and investment cooperation. Cooperation on a number of projects within the framework of the Russian-American Presidential Commission, co-operation by the Ministry of Energy and SC “Rosatom”, and the National US space agency Roskosmos has been initiated. On March 1, 2014, the Bureau of Industry and Security and the US Department of Commerce have suspended consideration of applications for the grant of export licenses required for the export or re-export of goods to Russia subject to the US Commerce Control List. Office of the Arms Trade in the US State Department has also decided to suspend until further notice the process of issuing permits for export of military products and services of American origin to Russia. One day it can cause isolation, but still Russia is a big country and its interest has to be considered in normal and common frames (Thomas Wright, 2015).
The second reason is mineral and energy resources. The cost of proven and inferred mineral resources in Russia amounts to $ 30 trillion. Russia has a powerful and diverse natural resource potential to provide the necessary volume of domestic consumption and export. With a rich mineral and raw material base, the country occupies one of the first places on most reserves of natural resources, including reserves of natural gas, coal, iron ore, a number of non-ferrous and rare metals, apatite, etc. Currently more than 20 thousand mineral deposits are open. According to experts, in the structure of the mineral resource base of Russia the major share of 71% occupy the energy resources provided by gas, coal and oil, 15% – non-metallic raw materials, 13% – ferrous and nonferrous metals, and 1% are diamonds and precious metals. Russia has a significant growth potential of its oil reserves. Industrial oil reserves explored in its territory make up 12.5 billion tons, and inferred resources characterized by a lower degree are estimated at nearly 50 billion tons. An explored resource base, in principle, is sufficient to ensure annual production at 600 million tons of liquid hydrocarbons in the next 30 years. By the number of explored reserves of coal Russia ranks third in the world with 182 billion tons after the US with 445 billion tons and China with 272 billion tons. 30% of world coal reserves is located on the territory of this country. Moreover, proven reserves amount to 49% of coal reserves, 42% – coking coal and anthracite which are used as fuel for steel production. 93%nof the coal basins are concentrated in the eastern part of the country in Ural, while the remaining 7% come from the European part. At the same time, the lowest cost of production is generated from fields in Eastern Siberia, and the highest – from the northern regions of the European part. Based on stocks of non-ferrous metals, the country occupies a leading position in the world, and the value of inventories of non-ferrous and rare metals is $ 1.8 trillion.
Russia is also one of the largest producers of precious metals and gemstones. Projected gold reserves are estimated at 150 thousand tons, while the country is the fifth largest producer of gold accounting for 6-7% of world production. In the production of platinum group metals, Russia ranks second in the world, with major deposits located in Eastern Siberia, the Kola Peninsula and the Ural. The share of this country and accounts for 20-25% of world diamond production putting it at the second place in mining after South Africa. Total reserves are estimated at 200 million carats. Thus, the value of foreign economic relations of Russia and the United States is determined by the high potential in the fields of energy supplies and commodities, and sales opportunities of American engineering products and agricultural products in the Russian market (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation).
At the end of 2013 the Russian-American trade, according to the US Department of Commerce, decreased by 4.9% to $ 38.12 billion. Dollars. In 2012 this number accounted for $ 39.94 billion. Moreover, exports to Russia from US decreased by 8.2% to $26.96 billion. The number $ 29.27 billion was recorded in 2012. Simultaneously imports from Russia increased by 4.3% to $ 11.16 billion in 2013 and by $ 10.67 billion in 2012. Russia’s share in the turnover of the US in 2013 was 1.0%, and in the list of partners in terms of trade Russia occupied the 24th place. The basis of Russian exports to the US accounted for mineral products, primarily oil and oil products constituting 72%, metals and products from them – 14%, and chemical products – 9%. As a result, Russia is a rather rich country with great mineral and energy resources which are rather important for today’s economic situation and future development (Department of commerce).
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The third reason is diplomatic relations and the role of Russia on an international stage. The story of relations between Russia and the USA is quite long and hard, and it was always under the tension of different political actors and polar viewpoints. Today American governors are still making public statements on the situation of human rights in Russia. The problems of human rights and democracy are actual for today’s Russian regime. Now the diplomatic relations are under tension between the USA and Russia and the USA and China. Meanwhile, Russia, along with China, are planning unification of the two projects: Russian EAEC – Eurasian Economic Cooperation and the Chinese New Silk Road project. The agreement on the joint development of these projects has been discussed along with many other agreements. The document was signed in Moscow during the visit of the Chinese president on the occasion of the celebration on May, 9th. The President Xi Jinping, in contrast to the frightened and controlled Western politicians, stood side by side with the president Vladimir Putin raising the cooperation of these two countries to an entirely new political and economic level. The proof that this fact had began to realize the policy in the US was the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow. A more than two-hour meeting was held among the member of the US government, President Vladimir Putin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. On the part of Russian leaders, it sounded like Moscow was repeating the civil war in Ukraine, which was the result of the Western-backed violent coup in the country. Russia is ready at any time to start mutually beneficial economic and political cooperation with the West as long as it is not in detrimental to its national interests and security. John Kerry, for his part, has hinted that if they have complied with the agreement between Minsk and Kiev regions who refuse to recognize the authority installed after a coup, anti-Russian Western sanctions in the near future may be reduced or completely eliminated. The head of the US State Department has slowly opened the back door to America for the gradual restoration of relations with the Russian Federation and China. In the United States, probably, politicians realized that these countries can still be partners. Currently, America can save its economy only by starting to do business with these countries as equal partners. Otherwise it may break apart or experience the risk of a terrible war with an uncertain winner (Ladislav Kašuka, 2015).
According to these three reasons, it is hard to choose which country is more important for the national interests of the USA. However, by analyzing the long political history, Russia seems more important because of its place on the world stage, nuclear weapons, and mineral and energy resources. All relations are based on diplomacy and only the art of negotiations can keep the world in peace and protect it from war.