By Yasser Nazifi Gilavan

American expert says interest groups to further stir up Moscow-Washington animosity

December 30, 2020 - 18:39

Noting that there are political lobbies in Washington who benefit from epitomizing Russia as an imminent threat to the U.S, an American analyst says that arms industries are always after creating defensive concerns.

The interest groups “justify their expenditures on the grounds that they're required to ‘defend’ their interests from the multitude of threats that they regard Russia as posing, both in the military and non-military realms,” according to Andrew Korybko. 

During presidential debates in the U.S., Donald Trump and Joe Biden criticized one another for being too soft with enemies of the United States. Trump accused Biden of making up with the Chinese and Biden countered by accusing Trump of having secret ties with Moscow.

Even after Biden’s victory, the American media released cartoons that depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin upset with the U.S. presidential election result.

The U.S. and Russia have been rivals since the end of the Cold War. Even the collapse of the USSR did not make Americans remove Russia from the list of top threats to their national interests.

As a result, many experts and analysts have tried to touch upon the prospect of U.S.-Russia relations during the incoming presidency of Joe Biden.

To further discuss the issue, we reached out to Andrew Korybko, a Moscow-based American political analyst. His first book “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change” was published in 2015.

Here is the full text of the interview with Korybko:

Q: What does Joe Biden’s presidency mean for Russia? Biden blamed Trump for being too lenient on Russia and ignoring the threat posed by Moscow. Do you expect Biden’s administration to intensify Russophobia? Some people argue that Democrats will take advantage of Biden’s presidency to even take a more serious stance against Russia to worsen ties. 

"The fact of the matter is that Russia is indeed one of the country’s most confidently reasserting its sovereign interests against the U.S. unipolar hegemonic designs."A: Russian-American relations are expected to worsen under the incoming Biden Administration, though the outgoing Trump one recently engaged in a series of provocations earlier this month which left no hope for them to improve even in the very unlikely event that the incumbent somehow remains in office after 20 January. Biden's team is made up of former Obama-era and -influenced officials whose political Russophobia leads them to regard the Eurasian Great Power as their country's top foe. They'll therefore continue the New Cold War that they inherited and intensify it in certain ways, perhaps on so-called “democratic” pretexts in order to appeal to a wider number of their allies. Geopolitical friction in Eastern Europe and the Mideast (West Asia) will remain at the forefront of their relations, but the Biden administration will probably also emphasize the perceived difference of values between both sides in an attempt to restore some of America's lost soft power under Trump. 

Q: Why should the issue of Russia still be among the top in the U.S. foreign policy, while the threats posed by China and North Korea are more tangible? 

A: Russia, China, and North Korea aren't so much “threats” to the U.S. as they are challenges in different spheres. Russia is the only country capable of destroying the U.S. with nuclear weapons, while China is the only one that can economically compete with it. North Korea, meanwhile, is only an issue of regional concern, and that's just because of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. To the question of why Russia will probably move to the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda under Biden, this is due to his team's political Russophobia. They don't deny the economic challenge posed by China but seem to consider the military one to be manageable, unlike Moscow's. As for North Korea, they haven't said much about it and might be hoping to retain the status quo for as long as possible, barring any unexpected provocations by either side. Arguably, the U.S. foreign policy should be more balanced and not obsess over any single challenger. 

Q: Is not it a waste of resources by the European Union, NATO, and the U.S. to keep spending budgets against Russia, while they are suffering from shortcomings in other areas? 

A: Those actors justify their expenditures on the grounds that they're required to “defend” their interests from the multitude of threats that they regard Russia as posing, both in the military and non-military realms. In a perfect world, everyone would invest solely in their own people and not in the military-industrial complex, but that's not the world in which we live. Special interest groups of both a political (Russophobia) and economic (military-industrial complex) nature vie for a slice of the pie every year and usually succeed in getting more than their “fair share” of it. Even if the so-called “Russia threat” were to recede from the public consciousness due to a political decision by their leaderships, then it would simply be replaced by the Chinese, Iranian, or some other one because that role will need to be filled by someone to justify continuing such expenditures. It's unforeseeable that any realistic alternative to this model will emerge anytime soon. 

Q: To what extent are anti-Russia claims by the U.S. politicians legitimate or attention-worthy? Can we just label them as baseless claims meant to promote a smear campaign against Russia? 

A: It's difficult to ascertain the veracity of most of the Americans' claims since they don't publicly provide any evidence to back them up such as when accusing Russia of hacking the U.S. or engaging in other such provocations. There are, however, some objectively existing developments that they misportray in accordance with their political interests to justify their Russophobia such as Russia's reunification with Crimea or anti-terrorist operation in Syria. These veritably happened, but the motivation, sequence of events, and outcomes are presented differently than they actually occurred. Regardless of one's opinion towards them, the fact of the matter is that Russia is indeed one of the country’s most confidently reasserting its sovereign interests against the U.S. unipolar hegemonic designs, which is why it'll always remain in the news. As a result, America will continue to seek public justifications for continuing its “containment” policy against it. 

Q: Will Russia join Biden’s administration to push Tehran into making more concessions in the face of demands for limiting Iran’s missile program and changing Iran’s regional policies? 

A: Russia hasn't indicated that it would join Biden's political campaign regarding Iran, but its representatives have previously called on Tehran to abide by the terms of the nuclear agreement. This implies a degree of unease about Iran's sovereign right to advance its interests in the face of the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, though it would be premature to interpret that as blaming it. Russia will probably oppose the U.S. efforts to add additional terms to the deal in exchange for America's return to it, but such opposition would only remain political and not carry with it any meaningful consequences to change its rival's behavior. What's most important to Moscow is publicly presenting itself as a guardian of international law and state sovereignty, and it also hopes to sell some arms to Tehran and cooperate with it to varying extents across the region. These plans would be jeopardized if it jumped on Biden's anti-Iranian bandwagon.

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