The article Russia and America: Toward a New Détente was published on June 9 by The National Interest to hit the radar screen. It is still in the limelight. The piece is written by Leslie H. Gelb (born March 4, 1937), a former correspondent and columnist for The New York Times, a former senior Defense and State Department official who is currently President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Leslie H. Gelb believes that the United States held a pyrrhic victory in the Cold War. Russia has regenerated like a phoenix bird. Its military is even more capable now than in the days of the Soviet Union. All Russia’s actions perceived by the West as aggressive are provoked by its own policy. The author believes that only respectful attitude and public recognition of its own mistakes would give Washington a chance to normalize the relations with Moscow. Today the United States needs it more than Russia. According to Gelb, neocons have gone too far with their policy of coercive democratization which is leading to a historical dead end.
After making these reasonable remarks, Leslie Gleb gives free rein to fantasy switching to possible changes of US foreign policy. He offers to create a US-Russia G2 group to become a bastion on the way of Chana’s growing might. The hypothetical association looks too far-fetched but it does not stop him. Such an idea would appear to be naïve at any time. Now, when the US administration is losing international trust, it sounds really ridiculous.
Leslie Gelb has no respect for Europeans and believes that their role is limited by efforts to facilitate joint activities of the United States and Russia. Let me remind you, that these ideas are expounded not by a schoolboy, but a veteran of foreign policy whoserved as an Assistant Secretary of State in the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1979. Dr. Gelb became President of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1993 and as of 2003 is its President Emeritus. From 2003-2015, he also served as Board Senior Fellow there.
One can go into details studying the hypothetical patterns offered by Leslie Gelb, but one thing is clear - there is a bee in the bonnet of US political upper crust that hinders the efforts to come up with realistic assessments of the country’s global influence. The article of President Emeritus emphasizes the fact that the United States remains to be the world leader capable of redrawing the world map as it sees fit. The only difference is that now the United States will do it displaying greater respect for Russia. This vision lacks one thing – the author does not realize that the world has drastically changed. The wars and financial crises unleashed or provoked by the US made it be perceived as an «evil empire» in many parts of the world. With such a reputation no one can be the global leader for a long time. What’s wrong with Leslie Gelb? He’s got the American mentality. The expert sees the United States as the center of the world. He and the like are not able to distance themselves from the «America above all» way of thinking. This kind of vision defines their mentality.
It’s hardly a coincidence that the concept of Détente Plus emerged against the background of US pre-election campaign. This is the right time to look back at the President Obama’s record and there is little to be proud of. The US foreign policy has evidently degraded due to self-conceit. For instance, Vice-President Joe Biden simply does not realize how people look at him when he takes the place of chairperson during a government meeting while on a visit to Ukraine. The same thing applies to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who took the seat of governor and gave instructions during his visit to the Ukrainian city of Uzhgorod.
Everyone is fed up with neocons. From this point of view the article by Leslie Gelb hit the nail right on the head, but the author lacks audacity to come up with proposals on how to change the policy defined by dangerously misleading concept of being a nation that calls the shots in this world, the wrong belief that the United States can take unilateral decisions to tackle global problems. Americans forget that the contemporary world has ceased to be unipolar since a long time ago.
In his recent interview with Swiss media Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he is ready for a dialogue with the United States and Europe.
At that one should not be under a delusion that Russia would hold talks with Washington or Brussels in the «Ukraine’s format.» Perhaps, this is the right issue to pick up for the next article to be written by President Emeritus of the Councilon Foreign Relations. He should not begin with a list of neocons failures but rather with the idea for the United States to abandon the concept of being a boss running the Universe.