Thursday, October 11, 2007

Russia and President Hillary Clinton

Many Russians are predicting a win by Senator Hillary Clinton in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, and they’re worried.

A concern is that her victory will result in stepped-up criticism of Russia's failures in human rights and democratization, thereby increasing friction. The result will be an increased deterioration in US-Russian relations.

They are bad under Bush, but could be much worse under Hillary Clinton.
She may revive the doctrine of her husband, and assume that Russia is to be punished for having lost the Cold War. Another source of trouble will be the increasingly favored status of China. This is due almost entirely to the fact that China serves as a source of cheap labor for low grade consumer goods, with the expectation that the same labor force can eventually be upgraded for the production of more expensive items such as consumer electronics.

Russia could argue that China has human rights issues of its own, and democratization is an utterly foreign concept there. Russia could assert that US policy is being driven by corporate interests, strengthening the position of pro‑Communist factions within Russia.

Another consideration is oil. Russia controls a significant portion of the world's petroleum resources, and the disastrous situation in the Middle East may necessitate a certain level of dependency on Russian oil and gas.

If elected, Senator Hillary Clinton will have two problems with respect to Russia. The first is the foreign policy disaster created by her predecessor, and the second could be biases inherited from her husband. Russia will be undergoing changes, and Clinton must work with things as they are to prevent the development of a significant and dangerous rift between America and Russia.

1 comment:

Pete said...

I think Hillary will treat Russia as an opportunity rather than a threat. Russia will be seen as a stabiliser against Iran (if not already bombed) or at least a buffer against central Asian Islamic extremism.

China will be considered the greater military and (more importantly) economic threat.

Military threats are within the US psychological comfort zone - an engineering problem that they are able to handle. But the prospect of an economy larger than the US' has not been faced by the US since the early 1900's when Britain was more powerful. This explains the US' hairtrigger criticisms of China on many issues.