Russians still think Americans are their enemies, showing their negative view on the Western lifestyle, according to a Russian independent poll.
The polling comes amid cold relations between Washington and Moscow caused by Russia’s ongoing intervention in Syria. It was recently reported by an American analyst that a “greater” war between the U.S. and Russia is “inevitable.”
And it’s not like the Russians would protest against such a war, judging by the numbers from the Levada Center poll. A record-breaking 71 percent of Russians said the U.S. is playing a negative role in the world.
As many as 75 percent of the respondents pointed at the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan as Russia’s enemies that “are seeking to damage Russia’s interests and resolve their problems at Russia’s expense.”
And only 17 percent of Russians said they think these countries share their interests with Moscow “in the fight against crime, terrorism and environmental disasters, as well as the development of science, culture and economy.”
Positive signs in Russia-U.S. relations
However, it must be noted that the negative view on the U.S. from Russians has somewhat decreased compared to the Levada Center last year’s poll.
The number of respondents believing the relations between Washington and Moscow are tense has decreased by 10 percent compared to the last year’s numbers (45 percent against 55 percent).
Almost half of Russian respondents (45 percent) expressed their unfavorable view on the Western lifestyle, which is up 3 and 15 percent compared to 2014 and 2008 respectively.
Most Russians still see America “as an abscess on the body of Russia,” however the scale of negative emotions “has shifted to a more positive assessment,” according to deputy director of the Levada Center Alexei Grazhdankin.
He also added that “the negative attitude toward America is caused by several factors,” including the crisis in eastern Ukraine, which the West believes is supplied with Russian weapons and troops.
Differences in Obama administration about Russia
Russia’s military intervention in Syria has created chaos in the Obama administration, with some officials urging U.S. President Barack Obama to take a stronger stance against Russia’s actions, while Obama is not eager to face new risks.
The risks include a greater war between the U.S. and Russia, according to U.S. analysts.
A growing number of current and former Obama’s administration officials claim that Obama’s unwillingness to give a bolder response to Russia’s actions is seen in the world as U.S. weakness.
Although Obama recently approved the document that will provide supplies and ammunition to Kurdish and Arab fighters in northern Syria, it does not seem to satisfy some hotheads in the Obama administration. Besides, the Pentagon recently approved the revised training program that will provide weapons to trusted U.S.-backed rebels in the region.
However, according to numerous reports, some officials are pushing for new approaches to counter the Russian threat in Syria.
Obama’s most senior advisers – National Security Adviser Susan Rice and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough – support the President’s stance on being cautious as to not unleash an all-out war in Syria against Russia.
But other officials fear that the so-supportive advisers are not interested in questioning assumptions of Obama, who’s about to enter his final year in office.
The situation when some high-ranking officials question the President’s views on certain issues is not new for the U.S., but Russian President Vladimir Putin has managed to put together America’s two largest foreign policy issues – growing Russian aggression and the Syrian crisis, which has killed over 230,000 people.
U.S. officials are sensing the beginning of Cold War
Numerous reports indicate that Obama’s senior national security officials have repeatedly urged the President to give a bolder response to Putin’s actions in Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly called the President to establish a no-fly zone in Syria, but Obama later dismissed the idea saying it was “half-baked.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter has recently said that the U.S. is not countering Putin’s provocations firmly enough, while CIA Director John Brennan complained that the Russian President is conducting airstrikes against Syrian rebels, who were covertly trained and backed by his agency.
Obama’s rather weak and indecisive stance on Russia’s military actions in Syria has isolated a number of his administration’s officials, who claim the President is not doing enough to counter the Russian aggression.
Officials like Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and Celeste Wallander, the National Security Council’s senior director for Russia and Eurasia, have already voiced their disagreement with Obama, and their number grows by the day, as the President continues to follow his own plan.
In an interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday, Obama was pressed by the host, who reminded the President of the lack of results in fighting ISIS and asked whether he felt that Putin is challenging his leadership.
China’s top newspaper, The People’s Daily, has recently published in article, in which it accused both the U.S. and Russia of playing Cold War games with their military actions in Syria.
The paper urged both sides to realize that the Cold War era is over and that they should engage in peace talks instead.
“The United States and the Soviet Union used all sorts of diplomatic, economic and military actions on the soil of third countries, playing tit-for-tat games to increase their influence – it’s an old scene from the Cold War,” the newspaper noted in its article.