The Director of National Intelligence (the unit that brings together all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA), retired Admiral Michael McConnell, speaking at a hearing in the U.S. Senate with a report on threats to U.S. national security, said the tightening of Russian leadership’s policies would inevitably lead to an increased antagonism between Moscow and Washington.
The report stated that, according to U.S. intelligence, Russia had gotten back to its struggling towards democracy. This was evident in the increasing control over society and political parties “to the point that the next leader of the country would be merely appointed.”
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Putin faced pressure
According to the report, Putin was facing massive pressure from the country’s law enforcement officials, who accused the U.S. of “humiliation” that had befallen Russia in Washington’s attempt to slow down Moscow’s development. The source of such pressure from law enforcement officials was the extremely high prices of energy resources. According to McConnell, “the current state of the Russian economy and politics strengthened Russia’s confidence in its abilities, and as a result increased defense spending and continues to pursue foreign policy goals that are not always consistent with the goals pursued by the Western countries.”
He believes that such a course will be implemented through the 2008 presidential election in Russia and be accompanied by the strengthening of authoritarian tendencies in its domestic politics. That allowed McConnell to conclude about the future “intensification of rivalry and antagonism” between the U.S. and Russia, especially on the territory of the former Soviet Union states, as well as the weakening of cooperation in such areas as the “fight against terrorism, non-prolifer action of weapons of mass destruction, energy and the development of democracy in the Middle East.”
McConnell’s criticism coincided with other similar statements of senior U.S. political and military leaders. Speaking at the same hearing in the U.S. Senate, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Meyplz, reported about Russia’s efforts to use outer space for military purposes. Gates, speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee, reiterated that one of the reasons the United States should develop its armed forces lies in Russia’s and China’s modernization of their armies.
Russia And Georgia
There was a new round of confrontation between Russia and the United States beginning with the invasion of Georgian troops in South Ossetia in August 2008. Russian troops cleared the territory of the unrecognized republic from the Georgian army and for several days kept bombing military facilities on the Georgian territory, including Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
After that, Russia officially recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which had always been part of Georgia, as independent states. The existence of the NATO-Russia Council was then questioned. Francis Fukuyama, one of the world’s most renowned futurologists, noted that there is a possibility of a renewal of the Cold War, which means we would be dealing with a Russia that could not be trusted and that at any moment could resort to military force.
The difference is only in the fact that, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is more integrated into the global economy, and that is why it’s more vulnerable. This fact imposes certain constraints on Russia’s actions which did not exist during the Cold War. In July 2009, at the briefing dedicated to the policy of the outgoing administration of George W. Bush, his national security advisor, Stephen Hadley, speaking about U.S.-Russian relations formulated by the results of the past few years, said: “On Russia, President Bush has worked to shift America’s relationship from the rivalries of the Cold War to partnering with Russia in areas where we share common interests — while managing our differences in a frank, consistent, and transparent way.”
Among the achievements, Hadley highlighted U.S.-Russian cooperation in the field of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation of WMD in the resolution of Iranian and North Korean issues, and maintaining negotiations to achieve peace in the Middle East. There had been a preparation for the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Russia in 2012, but his meeting with Putin was canceled.
In 2013, the examples of differences between Russia and the U.S.included the situation in Syria and North Korea, missile defense, the condition of non-profit organizations in Russia, the Magnitsky Act and the “aw of Dima Yakovlev. On the night of May 13, 2013, the Federal Security Service arrested CIA agent Ryan Fogle, who served as the third secretary of the political department of the U.S. Embassy in Russia, during his recruitment of one of Russia’s secret service agents.
Russia’s granting of asylum to Edward Snowden was viewed as an open hostile action by a number of Americans. The special statement of the White House on Obama’s cancelled visit to Moscow in September 2013 noted “the absence of any progress during the past 12 months in such issues as missile defense and arms control, trade and economic relations, issues of global security, human rights and civil society.”
In early March of 2014, with a sharp deterioration of the relations between the two countries in connection with the so-called Crimean crisis, Secretary of State John Kerry said during a televised interview that the “reset thing” was in the past. “We entered another phase of relations with Russia.” It was noted that relations between the U.S. and Russia had been at their worst since 1991.