Russian-American Relations: Past, Present & Future

The centrality of America’s relationship with Russia has become evident to all Americans. The political environment has rediscovered how elaborately our politics, psychology and identity is framed by our international relationships. Since the election of President Trump, Americans and Russians have been presented with many questions about the direction for our current and future relationship. To understand the complexity, we will need to review the legacy and baggage that stems from the Cold War and our competition in that era. It can also be helpful to offer a bit of an autopsy for the USSR and to account for the imposing challenges faced by the Russian Federation as it redesigned itself often without explicit or comprehensive objectives. The Yeltsin era is especially important to understanding Russian problems. Vladimir Putin has, for most Americans, personified the Russian state since, but serious analysts know that considerable care needs to be exercised and it is crucial that the problems the Russian leadership face are recognized. We will look carefully at the stages in Putin’s and Russia’s evolution. One central point of contention among those who study Russian-American relations is the degree to which Russia is said to "react" or to "aggressively initiate" the sparring that takes place between our systems. We will examine the record. Finally, as social scientists we can attempt to responsibly frame the future choices, the future scenarios, for the development of each of the political systems and the consequences for their relationship. In essence, we will look at the past, present and future of this important relationship. The emphasis will be on a scholarly, meaningful and non-ideological look at what and how we deal with each other.