US has to realize reality of a new world

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/15 18:58:41

Sergey Karaganov  Photo: Lu Yuanzhi/GT

Editor's Note: 

Relations among China, Russia and the US have caught attention of the world because the three global powers can have a profound impact on the international landscape. How can Beijing and Moscow maintain close relations? Where will Russia-US relations head amid dramatic changes in the global political dynamics? Sergey Karaganov (Karaganov), dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Russia, shared his viewpoints with Global Times (GT) reporter Lu Yuanzhi on the sidelines of the recent Eighth World Peace Forum in Beijing.

GT: The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations. How would you evaluate the current ties? What are the reasons for the close ties between the two countries?

: It's very rare that countries with different social systems are so close. Now we stay together in international relations and the relationship between Russia and China and relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are the main stabilizing factor in this very unstable world. 

First of all, Russia and China become close because they decided that it is in their interests to lean on each other. Second, we have solved most of the outstanding problems which we have inherited, including the border problem. We have increased cooperation in many fields. And relations, in spite of the elements of obvious competition, have become extremely healthy. 

Now we have new horizons. We have to know each other better. We have to build up a better relationship in fields like business. So, we are very happy there is friendship and mutual respect and the two leaders know that they can rely on each other.

GT: President Xi paid a state visit to Moscow in June. Both countries agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for new era. So how will the two countries develop relations in the new era? 

We are building a relationship in almost every field. In the political sphere, we cooperate closely. In the military sphere, we have joint military exercises. Our economic relationship is growing very fast. Now we have to think together on how to build a peaceful Eurasia, both on the basis of the Belt and Road Initiative promoted by Xi and a similar idea of Putin, known as the Greater Eurasian Partnership. During Xi's last visit to Russia, they supported both ideas and said it was a coincidence. We have to understand a peaceful and faster developing Eurasia is our hope, and we have to work together to achieve it.

GT: Putin and US President Donald Trump recently met in Osaka. Putin said that Russia would do all it could to boost ties with the US and it was up to Washington to decide how best to build ties with Moscow. How do you interpret Putin's statement? 

Americans are extremely hostile; they are even more hostile toward Russia than China. So Putin was trying to say that "if you wish good relations, let's have good relations; if you don't want good relations, we don't care." That's the basic answer. We'd like to have a normal relationship with them, but we know the limits. We also know the limits of this administration, which is undermined by deep internal differences and paths within American elite society. 

Even if the US wanted to have a normal relationship, Trump couldn't deliver. We need normal relations because we are the two most powerful nuclear countries in the world, and we have a special responsibility. However, of course, the US administration is irresponsible, and we understand that relationship could not be friendly.

GT: What will be Russia-US ties like in the future? 

I hope that we'll have a normal relationship, more cooperation, and less hostility. I hope we will start to talk about limiting or controlling the situation in military-political affairs, because actually Americans are now knowingly and systematically undermining every effort in trying to make the military-political situation more predictable and more controllable. They think they could win in this uncontrollable situation and the arms race. They're dead wrong. It looks like many in the US want to repeat the success of former president Ronald Reagan. The Soviet Union collapsed because of its own internal weaknesses, but many Americans believe it was because they inflicted an arms race. They want to repeat that.

In the early 1980s, the US pressured Japan, a fast developing country, by imposing quotas. Since that time, Japan has been in stagnation. That is Washington's strategy toward China, but they do not take into consideration the limits of American power. There is also a very drastic change because the Soviet Union and China were competitors at that time, but now we are friends. The situation has changed. The US will have to adapt to the fact that we are living in a new world. 

GT: Both Washington and Moscow suspended the implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The treaty is likely to cease to exist from August 2. Without the constraints of the treaty, will we witness a more intense arms race between the two countries? How will it affect geopolitics?

It's up to the US. We will develop and deploy only those systems we need. We will not participate in the old-style arms race, which was stupid, time- and money-consuming, and in the end, counter-productive. Russia has already deployed a new generation of weapons, which could overcome every possible strategic defense, and cover all possible and necessary targets to deter the US. We are cutting military expenditures because we are working according to our plans, not according to American plans. That is the basic difference with the arms race between the Soviet Union and the US in the previous Cold War. We are developing only those weapons necessary to deter them. 

The US has two main goals in withdrawing from the INF. One, crush what is left of arms control because they don't want to be constrained. Two, they want to deploy new systems in Asia against China. 

However, we will be close to China as friends and supporters.


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