When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Tied together
Tied together
Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW - Barack Obama’s re-election has allowed many people in Moscow to sigh with relief: The Cold War really is over. And that is the most important take-away from the Russian capital after the 2012 presidential election in the United States.

The Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, had surprised everyone during the campaign by citing Russia as America's No.1 geopolitical opponent. So his defeat means the Kremlin can stop worrying about such caveman-like announcements. Indeed, Russia can be assured that Romney, who is 65 years old, will not be running in the next U.S. elections.

Does Obama’s re-election mean that Moscow and Washington have a second chance at a reset? The answer is obvious: yes, of course. However, the fact that history is giving these two former foes a second chance does not necessarily mean that the opportunity won't be wasted.

In the wake of the U.S. election, there is a wave a new expectations that every new term ushers in. It is a good time for the governments in both countries to work past their previous mistakes. Both administrations should figure out the reason why towards the end of the presidential elections in the United States the ‘reset’ with Russia morphed from a promising foreign relations project into the subject of increasing criticism and open derision from hawks in both Moscow and Washington.

It’s not possible to build something with your right hand and destroy it with your left. Moscow cannot declare its commitment to a strategic partnership with the United States while at the same time fanning the flames of anti-Americanism, which has returned recently in the Russian media and to the lips of Russian officials after a brief historical respite.

That should be the lesson for Moscow from Obama’s first term. It is not possible to build a serious partnership with someone whom you don’t trust or whom you are constantly flipping off behind his back.

Let's fix it

But the Obama administration, which offered Moscow the reset button, should also avoid repeating the same mistakes. Moscow’s increasing annoyance with the White House is not without merit. Once again, the White House did not consult with Moscow about the European missile shield nor the conflict in Syria. At the same time, after Russia agreed not to use its veto power against the the United Nations Security Council vote on Libya, the U.S. went ahead and overthrew the Libyan regime.

It has to be said that in spite of Obama’s polite rhetoric regarding Moscow, his actions as President have often aggravated the anti-Americanism that we see in Russia today.

Most importantly, Washington has to understand that President Vladimir Putin will never agree to be a junior or subordinate partner to the United States. A real partnership built over the course of Obama’s second term must be a partnership between equals.

Lastly, it is important that both sides stop blaming each other for the turbulence in the relationship. Saying “You break it, you fix it” does not work in today’s world. The second chance at a reset will not be wasted only if both parties are able to sit down at the negotiating table and find the courage to say, “If we break it, we both fix it.”

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Green

Bricks Of Weed! The House Of The Future Could Be Made Of Hemp

Hemp has long had more uses than getting high. The plant is now increasingly being used in the construction of houses, with huge benefits for the climate. The only issue is growing enough to meet surging demand.

Blocks of hemp used for house construction.

Jan Grossarth

OLDENBURG — To be clear: Nobody smoked weed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first semi-detached house made of hemp in Lower Saxony in northwest Germany. This rite-of-passage ceremony to celebrate the completion of the building served nothing more than cold beer.

Christian Eiskamp had spent decades building single-family houses in the sprawling housing complexes in the south of Oldenburg, a city of just over 100,000 people. Then he had the intuition that the heyday of concrete could be coming to an end because of its poor impact on the climate. Searching on Google, he found hemp as an alternative building material.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ