Signals of Change in the American Foreign Policy

The speech by the US foreign secretary, Hillary Clinton at the Brussels conference of NATO in the first week of the current month, offered significant hints of change in the American foreign policy. She said the US wanted to give a new angle to the US-Russian relationship and benefit from Russia’s long experience. Clinton said the two countries shared a number of common interests. She said they promised to work constructively in areas of mutual interest such as arms control, nuclear non-proliferation, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. "There is no time to waste on a number of these significant challenges, so we will begin working immediately to translate our words into deeds”, she affirmed.
Russia, it would be recalled, is a world power of the cold war era. Even though its strength has significantly reduced and its role considerably restricted, the mutual wrangling between the US and Russia is very much in place. The points of difference between the US and Russia are numerous and multi-layered. The two nations represented two opposite and conflicting systems. While America signified the symbol of capitalism, Russia was the icon of socialist ideology, each trying her best to win the world for her philosophy. Both had their circle of influence and both were working to beat the other. In this fight of overpowering the other, Soviet Union was defeated and as a consequence her international status was also badly hurt. Not only did the Union disintegrate, its circle of influence was cut to size and it lost most of its political constituents. This also badly injured its military muscle. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact led to its components breaking away from the Union, later to be picked up by the US. Americans started the game of integrating those countries into the European Union and later bringing them in the fold of the NATO taking it to the doorstep of Russia by negotiating with Ukraine to join the bloc.
Two events of major significance took place in the meantime. The first was the world economic slump and the other change of leadership in the United States. The challenges the US is facing are both internal and external. While the financial crisis forced the US to put its house in order, the changes on the world scenario led her to rethink its foreign policy. The US now wants to seek Russia’s help in promoting her interest by highlighting the role of Russians. Going even further, the US is also thinking to bring even Iran on board to meet the challenges America is facing. The first and foremost challenge is the ever widening economic slow-down with no signs of let up in spite of all the remedies being administered to control the disease. Among the external challenges are Middle East and Afghanistan, both aggressively shaking the world as a whole. The Iraqi imbroglio is yet to be sorted out and the US now wants Russian and Iranian help in tackling the Iraqi, Palestinian and Afghani mires –all of its own making. All this is indicative of a major change. It may lead to an altogether different world scenario. The pawns of the game are going to be replaced by new ones. Russia and Iran will obviously not offer their helping hand voluntarily. Russian economic condition is in a bad shape and it is struggling hard to recover. In addition Russia will certainly seek safeguards from the US and the European threats. Nor will Iran agree to proceed without definite guarantees for her own interests.
An altogether different world appears to be in the offing.
Editor:Parvaz Rahmani, sehroza DAWAT, 10March translated by: M H Zulqarnain , Riyadh

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