August 23, 2016

From Cooperation to Confrontation: Russia and the United States since 9/11

Related resources from ACDIS

ACDIS Swords and Ploughshares, Matthew A. Rosenstein (ed.), US-EU-Russian Relations: New Strategic Dynamics after Bush, winter 2008-9

ACDIS Occasional Paper, Roger E. Kanet, The Return of Imperial Russia: Russia and Its Neighbors, September 2008

Illini Security Briefing with Carol S. Leff, Analyzing the Georgia Conflict, September 2008

Last updated: May 26, 2009


Roger E. Kanet
Professor of International Studies, University of Miami
Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois

Published by The Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security (ACDIS), University of Illinois

ACDIS Occasional Paper series
May 2009

Full text [PDF]


The enthusiastic expectations of the early 1990s about the emergence and likely consolidation of democracy across the former Soviet Union, as well as about the successful integration of Russia into the Western community of democratic states, have been dissolved by a combination of Western, especially U.S., triumphalism and the realities of Russian political culture and the resulting authoritarian political system that has emerged in Russia.

The objective of this essay is to track recent Russian relations with the United States—focusing on the period between the U.S. intervention in Iraq in spring 2003 until the end of 2008—to support the argument that Russian leaders have decided to pursue a policy of independence, even confrontation, in their relations with the United States, as well as with Europe, as an integral part of a new assertive approach to achieving policy objectives.

The discussion of Russian-U.S. relations in this paper is divided into four sections: the first outlines the deteriorating relationship in the final years of Yeltsin’s presidency; the second treats the revival of Russia as a major power under Putin and Medvedev; the next examines in some detail the impact of that revival on Russian relations with the United States; and the fourth and final section outlines possible future scenarios for the relationship.