It has long been speculated whether or whether not it will be better if the US and Russia keep their differences aside and work together. Some would argue that these two countries having extremely opposing views might never be able to do so. However in the past, we have seen them work together; and when they did, they really put aside all their views and worked towards an agenda. Yes, we are talking about Syria.
So What Exactly Happened in Syria between the US and Russia?
Last year, the US and Russia came to an understanding about the Syria situation where their drones and aircrafts were clashing. The deputy defense minister of Russia said that this step is “aimed at preventing incidents between the Russian and US aviation.” Also, he stated that it had “important significance”. On October 19th, the two countries reached an agreement to ensure that their aircrafts and drones over Syria do not over cross each other.
This was probably done because the Russian drones came into contact with an unidentified drone some time back. It could very well have been the drone of NATO. However, the importance of this incident is that it is one of those times in history when Russia and the US actually agreed to make a pact to act together – even though it was just to stay out of each other’s paths. If we look at history, this could be a good start to better relations between the two superpowers.
The Pentagon Press secretary Peter Cook has shared that it does not mean that Russia and the US are agreeing on sharing intelligence or cooperating on a zonal level. Also, he mentioned that it does not “constitute US cooperation or support for Russia’s policy or actions in Syria.” He further went on to mention that the US believes that the methods that Russia is applying in Syria might actually be counterproductive. All these go ahead to prove that there is obviously still a tug of war and opinion clash between the two countries.
So, Can Russia and America Ever Work Together to Crush the Islamic State?
This is the big question that arises after learning the above information. But we cannot completely ignore the fact that Moscow and Washington still share a few common interests. In fact, these points of interest are not weak to be overlooked. We have also seen in the recent past that the Communist nation has actually joined hands with the US to battle global terrorism and to get rid of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) at a large scale. This has been happening quite often recently for us to think that it might actually be the norm in the future and might actually start happening at a larger scale.
ISIS – which is now a fully fledged terrorist group is looking forward to capture the states of Iraq and Syria completely. They not only have sophisticated weaponry but a huge financial back up which is feeding them to grow larger and larger. They are also attracting and recruiting thousands of young Muslims from around the globe. This is a growing concern not only for Russia and the US, but for the whole world.
The stakes are growing higher everyday as this terrorist organization is gaining more power and adding more numbers. In this scenario, it might be likely that we see US and Russia on the same side – to diminish the Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups at once.
At this crisis situation, the US and Russia alliance is needed more than ever. The thing that the US Presidency could do is, understand the core values of Putin’s administration. Although it is unlikely that Putin has any democratic views, there are likely many common values which he shares with America.
Space Might be a Common Place of Interest
It’s okay to start off with something completely off beat, like space exploration, and then maybe they can come back together to land on the situations concerning the globe. Indeed the two behemoths get along in the space; as Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko said from his outpost, “Our work here and our cooperation on board the [International Space Station] is a great example for all politicians. If they spent at least one month on board together, it would have probably resolved most of their problems and discussions on the ground.”
It is just fantastic to think that while the US and Russia have been in a cold war for a long time, their cosmonauts are really cooperating in space (perhaps the boundaries really seem blurry from that high). Although they are so far above, they still follow the news. A NASA astronaut Scott Kelly said “It’s not something we generally discuss between each other, although sometimes we do.”
These two space agencies have cooperated for a long time and have also tied up with other space agencies of the world. The question is– what brings them together? What cue can we take from them so that our world leaders can imitate the same bonding that they have?
As Kelly says, “What’s most important to Misha [Mikhail Kornienko] and I and our Russian colleagues, and them with us, is that we have to rely on each other literally for our lives.” Maybe it’s the hostile environment of space that really brings two nations closer; as in space, it doesn’t really matter if you’re from the east or the west. Everyone has a part to do in order to survive and get the mission accomplished.
This could be related well to the situation down here – with the uprising of the Islamic states and the emergencies concerning the world, the US and Russia must really rely upon each other to help the world in such times of crises.
Kelly also says that “We understand that there can be conflict at times between nations. And I think one of the great things about the space station is we have demonstrated that two cultures that are somewhat different and sometimes can be at odds with one another over certain things have demonstrated that they can work together in a very cooperative way at something very, very difficult for a long period of time.”
Take a bow astronauts. We sure do hope our world leaders can say the same very soon.
8 Factors that will ensure a successful US-Russia Tie up
- Enhancing Regional integration: Regional integration is not to be taken lightly in this situation. Yes, we are talking about the sanctions which isolated Russia from Crimea. These things might be hindering the regional cooperation which is really needed to work together.
- Ensuring markets remain transparent and free: With the world leaders and politics in question, there could not be better stroke than to ensure a smooth flowing economy between these two countries. This will really make or break the integration process of these two countries at any point of time.
- US and Russia to be on the same level on the business front: The Head of Corporate Strategy of Severstal for Russian Steel and Mining, Andrey Laptev, says that, “On the working level – and I’ve been working with our American colleagues for 10 years now – the relations have always been excellent. We understand each other; there is no cultural threshold whatsoever, even in comparison with some of our European colleagues.” This is the most desirable scenario.
- When both sides have strong agendas: It is often assumed that Russia and the US are still in a state of mental cold war and neither side has a firm agenda to uphold. This could very well be the issue that is keeping them from working together. At any point of time, since the situations are so critical, if either of these countries loses sight of their agendas, things might flare up.
According to Benjamin Parker, who is the Executive Director of Foreign Policy in the US, the internal situation in the US governance is such that there is no emergence to improve the US-Russia relations. “I think fundamentally what the U.S. wants is the status quo to continue. I think there is a fundamental concern that we see a world where big power politics are changing. I don’t think the U.S. administration knows what to do about it,” he said.
- Strengthening economic ties: When all fails, it is the economies that ties countries. At a point where the political and military relations between the two countries are out of question, it could be the economic ties that could be revoked to strengthen the relation between these two countries.
- Working together to prevent worldwide epidemic and diseases: At this point when the world is threatened by new outbreaks and diseases, and the environmental concerns are much higher than ever, the US and Russia are being looked out for by the rest of the world to ensure that epidemics and disease outbreaks are prevented. This concern could also be one of their common agendas.
- Free transfer of talented people, better exchange of human resources: Both the US and Russia could ease up their visa and immigration regulations on each other and thus ensure that these two countries are really headed towards a positive cooperation. If these are implemented, it could open new doors for not only mutual ease but also better understanding of culture. This might be the key to military deadlocks.
- Together making sure that the internet is a free and safe place: The internet is free and open; and the internet is also abused by the terrorist organizations to attract the youth. If the US and Russia could make it a common agenda to ensure that the internet remains a free and safe place, that could be a good place to start working from.
Obama Advisor: “It is better when the US and Russia can work together”
Things finally seemed to land right in place when the Obama Advisor hinted that it is better if these two countries can work together. Assistant to the US President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting, Ben Rhodes, answered in an interview with the Tass. He said, “I think the advice that we would offer is that when we can find common grounds, the US and Russia can accomplish important things in the world together, as we did with respect to the Iran deal.”
Last year in December, 2015, these were the very words spoken by Rhodes and they do point towards Russia-US cooperation in future.
The mutual relationship of these two superpowers of the world not only matters to the citizens of their respective nations, but to everyone all across the globe. A healthy US-Russia relation means a better world overall, and no one can deny that. With the upcoming US presidential elections, it is only a matter of time till the world finds out what the new US administration has chalked out with respect to the bilateral ties with Russia. We can only hope it leads to a better, safer and economical strong situation for us all.