November 7, 2018

U.S.-Russia Relations: Why Did They Get So Bad and What Can Be Done About It?

James Goldgeier, Ph.D., Professor of International Relations, American University

In this conference, Professor Goldgeier digs into the intricate relationship between the United States and Russia. Russia’s desire for equal standing and America’s aspiration to be the world leader has been a fundamental problem since the Soviet era, causing tensions that reached their worst point since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Professor Goldgeier acknowledges that the relationship between the U.S. President, Bill Clinton and the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s offered a diplomatic alignment despite their disagreements over the NATO expansion and the Kosovo War. However, as the early 21st century unfolded, tensions grew with the Russian President Vladimir Putin aspiring to rebuild Russia as a significant global power and the United States losing its influence due to the Iraq War and the financial crisis. The annexation of Crimea and conflict in Eastern Ukraine led to economic sanctions and a worsening of the relationship, with limited potential for arms control and little optimism for imminent improvement due to the opposing interests and competition between the United States, China, and Russia.

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