Russia has become less cooperative and pursues a more self-reliant policy, with sanctions that could cost it 6% of GDP.
NI draws Russian imperfections
The National Interest (NI) of the US recently published an analysis of Russia’s policy assessment that Moscow has always sought to strengthen its power status when cooperating with other countries. According to NI, Russia seeks to maintain its status as a great power by building a self-reliant “fortress” and strengthening relations with China.
In the current context, the NI believes that the COVID-19 epidemic may reinforce Russia’s self-reliance instincts, but warns Russia could lose this instinct if it is against globalization or relying too much on China and leaving it far away. The West. The contradictory issue is that Russia does not pay attention to some means to maintain its superpower status.
|NI warned that Russia could lose its “instinct” to fight against globalization or Chinese dependence|
According to NI, despite the economic stagnation for more than a decade, Russia has not implemented reforms to promote private sector development. The US newspaper also said that Russia invested too little in health care, especially in rural areas. Meanwhile, cash flows from Russia poured into Western countries quite a lot.
NI stressed that Russia’s “military adventures” in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Moldova, Syria and Ukraine all cost the Russian economy a lot. The newspaper said that the recent sharp decline in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic could weaken Russia.
After addressing these issues, NI acknowledges that Russia is still a great power. Russia is largely connected to two of the world’s largest economies, China and the European Union (EU). Russia is the second largest producer of natural gas in the world and produces one third of global oil production. Russia is a nuclear weapons superpower and an educated workforce.
Regarding the international role, NI said Russia helped negotiate a 2015 agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program. In 2013, Russia and the United States teamed up to eliminate some chemical weapons in Syria.
Besides, Russia has expanded its relationships in the Middle East, being an efficient natural gas supplier to Europe. Moscow also cooperates with the UN Security Council and is a security force in Darfur. Russia and Europe share the same view of urging US President Donald Trump’s administration to renew the new START Treaty between the US and Russia.
|The US newspaper rates Russia as a major power|
However, NI said that in recent years, Russia has become less cooperative and pursues more self-reliance policies. Russia’s involvement in Ukraine has led the West to impose sanctions that can cost Russia 6% of its GDP. The US newspaper further alleged that meddling in elections and supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has prompted more sanctions against Russia.
NI said that, with the prohibition of some “unwelcome” Western organizations operating in Russia and stopping educational exchanges with the US, Russia is reducing “global awareness” of Russians. The NI scandal in sports circles is also mentioned by NI as a “black spot” of Russia that prevents athletes from attending the Olympics.
NI cleverly coaxed Russia toward the West
NI commented that the self-reliance trend that Russia pursued at first glance seemed consistent with the times. In addition to the damaging US-China trade war, countries around the world have imposed more than 18,000 trade restrictive measures since 2009, compared with 7,000 liberalization measures.
The COVID-19 pandemic can increase global tensions. Some Western supply chains may move closer to European countries. The European Commission is calling on participating member states to own European companies to prevent Chinese takeover.
|America wants to cool down with Russia to fight China?|
However, NI believes that globalization is still evolving. Merchandise trade reached a nominal record of all time in 2018, a fifth higher than a decade ago, although trade dropped by 3% in 2019. In 2018, exports of trade in services reached a record level, increasing by nearly half compared to 2008.
Also according to NI, another sign of globalization is that foreign direct investment is also booming. The accumulated investment worldwide in 2018 exceeded US $ 32,000 billion in 2018, the second highest level in history and double that of 2008.
According to the NI, despite all its inequalities, globalization has helped to increase average incomes, higher productivity and increased demand for new technologies. Global trade is valuable to Russia because in addition to its oil and gas exports, Russia is the world’s leading wheat exporter, the main exporter of products such as metals, machinery, wood and fertilizer.
NI said, the reduction of oil prices, the possibility of recession due to pandemic and import substitution policy may weaken the Russian economy. Continuing to bet on anti-globalization may exacerbate these recessionary pressures.
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Russia has strengthened its financial resilience by accumulating more than half a trillion dollars in foreign exchange reserves. After the epidemic and oil prices fall, Russia can enhance resilience by reducing excessive reliance on one or more countries like China, or industries such as oil and gas.
Russia has upgraded its relations with China to “comprehensive strategic partnership for a new era”. Closer ties with China bring some benefits, but NI stressed that for Russia, the US and Europe are more prosperous, more innovative and more importable markets than China.
In addition, NI asserts that the West is interested in Russia’s cooperation to address global challenges, from nuclear threats to climate change and public health. However, the West has little influence on the options Russia makes but is very concerned about Russia’s future direction.