Russia has failed to challenge EU-US relations – OpEd – Eurasia Review

Contrary to Russia’s expectations, the war in Ukraine and the crises it entailed not only damaged EU-US relations, but also improved them to the point that the French proposal for “strategic autonomy for Europe is now relegated to oblivion.

As during the Cold War, Russia has sought to exploit the breakdown in transatlantic relations under Trump and weaken the Europe-US political and economic alliance. However, except for some limited successes in Serbia and Hungary, Moscow failed to achieve its goals.

Moreover, the countries which were part of the Soviet Union and which until recently regulated their foreign policy in accordance with Moscow, are changing course in the new situation and showing a greater desire to maintain their independence. All of this, together with the enlargement of NATO to Finland and Sweden, reflects the fact that Russia’s aggressive foreign policy is heading, in practice, towards an uncertain future.

Although in recent years Germany and some other European countries have had close ties with Russia and depended on its energy, the Ukrainian crisis has shown Russians that energy and geopolitical issues are inseparable. In other words, given Russia’s abysmal record, Europe’s reliance on its gas and oil is a glaring mistake.

Overestimating the importance of its energy sources for European countries has led Russia into a serious geopolitical miscalculation. Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership shows that not only has Russia failed to fend off threats by setting an example for Ukraine and intimidating its neighbors, but that it has fact created a front against Moscow that stretched to the eastern and northern borders of Europe.

Over the past two decades, the United States has manufactured a new enemy in the East and attempted to separate China from Russia through ping-pong diplomacy. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, the United States has redoubled its efforts to break up the Sino-Russian alliance in order to weaken Russia and focus on China as its most serious global competitor.

At the start of the war, Washington was ready to cede Ukraine to reach a compromise with Moscow. But things changed when the Ukrainian people stood up for their country and the Baltic States and Poland gave their support. In a strategic shift, the United States increased its military aid to Ukraine and instead focused on defeating Russia.

However, the United States is not Russia’s only problem. Public opinion in post-Soviet and Central Asian countries is completely against Russia and is doing everything to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people. In fact, the peoples of these countries are taking the opportunity to voice their opposition to the approach of the Moscow-affiliated leaders. This approach also has a historical cause and dates back to a time when the Soviet political order reigned in these countries.

The people of Central Asia and other countries that became independent from the Soviet Union still remember the discrimination, repression and killings of that time, and many of them lost loved ones. Some leaders, like in Kazakhstan, even rejected Russia’s request to send troops to Ukraine, and went so far as to say they did not want to be behind the Iron Curtain.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States was forced to intervene in Europe and reconsider its “pivot to Asia” policy, prompting NATO to increase its threats against Moscow in expanding its eastern and northern borders. Of course, unlike the United States, Europe is the first victim of this growing mutual tension.

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