Moscow has sought to maximize connectivity with all, while putting Russia’s own interests first
Over the last three years, Moscow has successfully parried Washington's political and economic attacks, while rapidly expanding bilateral relations with nearly all of its major regional neighbors. Its strategic geographical position has greatly benefited Russia as the center of global power increasingly shifts eastward.
Dmitry Trenin (yes, the director of Carnegie's Moscow Center — nobody's perfect) recently wrote an insightful piece about Russia's "grand designs" for Eurasia. While he takes a more sober approach to the issue, his observations about why Russia is so well-positioned to benefit from an integrated Eurasia are worth reading:
[Russia's] geographical position in the north and center of the great continent of Eurasia both allows and compels it to have a 360 degrees vision of its gigantic neighborhood, from Norway to North Korea, and from Murmansk to Mumbai.
It has the two powerhouses of the continent, the EU and China, as direct neighbors, and it does not have to choose between them.
Moscow’s new grand strategy is still in gestation. It seeks to maximize connectivity with all, while putting Russia’s own interests first. Managing a large number of very different partners is difficult, but not impossible, as Moscow’s recent experience in the Middle East shows.
Keeping relations with China on an even keel will be a major long-term task. Creating a new regional order with China, India, Iran, Turkey and others will not be easy either. However, the European Union and Ukraine are also part of Grand Eurasia, and the mission will not be accomplished before Europe and Russia reach a new normal based on empathy in diversity.
Syria is the epoch-creating turning point. Moscow was able to successfully coordinate a united diplomatic and military front against Washington and its client states. One can no longer dismiss Russia's calls for a multi-polar world order. It has already arrived.
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