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U.S.-Russian Relations: Biden Visits Moscow Teaser: U.S.

Vice President Joe Biden's official visit to Moscow comes during a eriod of am!iguit" in t#e U.S.-Russian relations#i . Summar": U.S. President Joe Biden met wit# Russian President $mitri Medvedev in Moscow on Marc# %& a da" !efore #is sc#eduled meeting wit# Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. T#e 'remlin sees Biden as a foreign olic" #aw(& articularl" w#ere )urasia is concerned. T#e vice resident's visit to Moscow comes during a eriod of am!iguit" in relations !etween Russia and t#e United States* t#e countries #ave !een coo erating more& !ut man" unresolved issues remain. +nal"sis: R),+T)$ ,-.'S: #tt ://www.stratfor.com/t#eme/u0s0russia0!allistic0missile0defense0central0euro e #tt ://www.stratfor.com/t#emes/russias0standing0glo!al0s"stem #tt ://www.stratfor.com/t#eme/russias0window0o ortunit" U.S. Vice President Joe Biden started t#e official art of #is tri to Moscow on Marc# %& meeting wit# Russian President $mitri Medvedev. 1e is sc#eduled to meet wit# Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Marc# 23. T#is is Biden's first (nown direct tal(s wit# t#e 'remlin leaders#i . $uring #is vice residenc"& Biden #as !een t#e ti of t#e s ear for 4as#ington's )urasian foreign olic"& a fact t#e 'remlin #as noted. Biden re resented U.S. President Barac( 5!ama's administration at t#e Munic# Securit" 6onference onl" a few mont#s after t#e .ovem!er 7338 elections. -n 5cto!er 733%& #e made a forceful c#allenge to t#e 'remlin during a s eec# in Buc#arest in w#ic# #e rallied 6entral )uro eans #tt ://www.stratfor.com/geo olitical0diar"/733%23770!iden0rallies0central0euro e to us# !ac( against t#e Russian s #ere of influence. Biden t#en went furt#er #tt ://www.stratfor.com/wee(l"/733%23790russia0iran0and0!iden0s eec# and said t#at United States regarded s #eres of influence as 2%t#-centur" t#in(ing& t#ere!" driving #ome t#at 4as#ington is not re ared to acce t Russian #egemon" in t#e former Soviet Union :;SU<. Most im ortant& #e called on former Soviet satellites to assist re u!lics in t#e ;SU t#at are not art of t#e Russian ;ederation to overt#row aut#oritarian s"stems and reserve t#eir inde endence. T#is c#allenge came as t#e Russo-U.S. d"namic was starting to s#ift into a new mode t#at was more nuanced and not as overtl" #ostile. Biden's Buc#arest s eec# was a reminder& #owever& t#at t#e United States can !e aggressive in 6entral )uro e if it wants to. -t was also a message t#at 4as#ington can also la" t#e =good co & !ad co = routine t#at Moscow la"s wit# Medvedev and Putin. So& alt#oug# 4as#ington and Moscow seem to #ave !een more coo erative since 733%& t#ere are still several outstanding disagreements and unresolved issues !etween t#em. Moreover& t#e

overall U.S.-Russian relations#i is still am!iguous. T#is is t#e atmos #ere in w#ic# Biden's tri to Moscow is ta(ing lace. <h3>The Detente </h3> T#e U.S.-Russian relations#i since t#e mid-7333s was mostl" defined !" #ostilit". Russia #ad finall" grown strong enoug# to act outside of its !orders and !egin us#ing !ac( 4estern influence #tt ://www.stratfor.com/anal"sis/73233>3?0russia in t#e former Soviet s #ere and )astern )uro e. $uring t#ese "ears -- w#ic# coincided wit# t#e latter #alf of t#e @eorge 4. Bus# administration #tt ://www.stratfor.com/!us#0and0 erce tion0wea(ness and t#e start of 5!ama's residenc" -- t#ere were small glimmers of coo eration on s ecific issues& suc# as Russian su ort for U.S. efforts in +fg#anistan. $es ite significant coo eration on ad #oc issues& t#e relations#i !etween t#e two former 6old 4ar adversaries was still strained. T#is led to a series of moves and countermoves& suc# as t#e 4est's su ort for 'osovo's #tt ://www.stratfor.com/wee(l"/russia0(osovo0and0as"mmetr"0 erce tions inde endence& Russia's war wit# @eorgia #tt ://www.stratfor.com/wee(l"/real0world0order & U.S. !allistic missile defense :BM$< in Poland& Russian missile de lo"ment in 'aliningrad #tt ://www.stratfor.com/anal"sis/733%3%280russia0!md0and0(aliningrad0wit#drawal & Russian su ort for -ran #tt ://www.stratfor.com/wee(l"/733%38230#" ot#esiAing0iran0russia0u0s0triangle and .+T5 eB ansion to former Soviet states. T#ere was no s#ortage of conflicting interests and flas# oints. 1owever& in 733% t#e Russo-U.S. relations#i s#ifted once again. $es ite lingering issues& Moscow and 4as#ington struc( a !argain -- t#e so-called =reset.= T#is s#ift occurred for two reasons. ;irst& t#e United States was !ecoming dangerousl" entrenc#ed in its commitments in t#e Middle )ast and Sout# +sia and needed Russian su ort. Second& Russia was !ecoming comforta!le enoug# in its us# against 4estern influence in t#e former Soviet s #ere -articularl" wit# gains in U(raine #tt ://www.stratfor.com/wee(l"/7323327C0u(raines0election0and0russian0resurgence and t#e 6aucasus -- t#at it could c#ange its tactics in dealing wit# t#e 4est. Russia could now comforta!l" s#ift from aggressive to coo erative relations#i s wit# t#e 4est in order to alternatel" !attle or eB loit t#e 4est as it needed to. Since t#at 733% =reset= t#e disagreements !etween 4as#ington and Moscow #ave mostl" Duieted and #ave !een re laced wit# more focus on coo eration on numerous issues. Russia #as drasticall" increased its su ort for U.S.-led efforts in +fg#anistan wit# transit su ort and su lies of militar" eDui ment. Russia #as !ac(ed off its overt su ort for -ran& signing onto U... Securit" 6ouncil :U.S6< sanctions against t#e Middle )astern countr". T#e United States -- !ot# in government and !usiness -- #as ent#usiasticall" assisted Russia's moderniAation efforts #tt ://www.stratfor.com/anal"sis/732339770russian0moderniAation0 art020la"ing0groundwor( t#roug# romises of #eft" investment& strategic tec#nolog" and Eoint economic roEects. T#us t#e current U.S.-Russian relations#i is not defined !" eit#er friendliness or #ostilit" !ut is more nuanced and com leB. T#e lingering Duestion is w#at comes neBt for 4as#ington and Moscow as t#e United States attem ts to wra u its commitments in t#e -slamic world and

Russia tries to eBtend its influence furt#er into )urasia& !e"ond its former Soviet s #ere. T#e stage is set for anot#er s#ift in Russo-U.S. relations. T#is is w#at Biden& Medvedev and Putin are discussing. <h3>Conflict Point: The Battle Over Eurasia</h3> T#e ro!lem is t#at t#e outstanding issues from !efore t#e current detente are not onl" still resent& !ut growing. T#e main oint of conflict !etween Moscow and 4as#ington :in !ot# t#e ast and t#e resent< is dominance over )urasia. Before 733%& a set of loose alliances and understandings were emerging& wit# Russia colla!orating wit# @erman" #tt ://www.stratfor.com/anal"sis/german"0mer(els0c#oice0and0future0euro e and ;rance& w#ile t#e United States su orted Poland #tt ://www.stratfor.com/geo olitical0diar"/7323273F0w#o0fears0russian0!ear and man" of t#e ot#er 6entral )uro eans. T#ese loose and unofficial alliances started off :as t#e" #ave man" times !efore< wit# t#e two 6old 4ar adversaries geogra #icall" dividing )uro e and t#e former Soviet states. Russia commanded its former states w#ile all"ing wit# 4estern )uro e ower#ouses& and t#e United States divided Russia from its allies !" ta(ing 6entral )uro e. -n t#e ast few "ears& t#ese loose alliances #ave grown into more solid divisions of interests in )uro e. T#e United States and Poland #tt ://www.stratfor.com/geo olitical0diar"/7323273%-usand-its-odd-EuBta osition-securit"-dilemmas are moving forward wit# #eav" investment roEects& missile defense installation and lans for a rotating de lo"ment of U.S. 6-2>3s and ;-29s in Poland. Berlin and Paris #ave a slew of roEects t#e" are wor(ing on wit# Moscow& including militar" su lies and contracts from @erman" and ;rance to Russia* Eoint economic roEects in trans ortation& energ" and communication* and even a ro osed securit" agreement t#at would tie Russia into )uro e& alt#oug# t#e eBtent to w#ic# Paris and Berlin are seriousl" entertaining t#e latter is unclear. T#is division of )uro e #as led to t#e a earance of similar divisions in .+T5. T#e clearest evidence of t#e new divisions were t#e negotiations for .+T5's Strategic 6once t #tt ://www.stratfor.com/anal"sis/732322720nato0inadeDuate0strategic0conce t. ;rance and @erman" us#ed for Russia's inclusion in t#e document as a =strategic artner' and moved awa" from t#e conce t of t#e alliance !eing defined as defense against Russia. 6entral and )astern )uro ean mem!er states& #owever& !al(ed at Russia's inclusion as a artner and demanded t#at territorial defense remain .+T5's core rinci le. T#e !ellwet#er for t#e alliance structures -- and for U.S.-Russian relations -- is t#e issue of BM$. T#is initiall" was a oint of conflict& wit# t#e United States signing an agreement wit# Poland to station t#e BM$ s"stem's missiles t#ere -- an agreement made official da"s after Russia invaded @eorgia. .ow t#e issue involves all t#e .+T5 mem!ers. ,ast wee(& U.S. Secretar" of State 1ilar" 6linton and Polis# ;oreign Minister Radoslaw Si(ors(i struc( an agreement for U.S. SM-> ground-!ased surface-to-air missiles to !e laced in Poland !" 7328. T#e United States #as alread" stationed a rotating Patriot missile !atter" in t#e countr" -- for

training ur oses onl" -- and #as indicated willingness to #ave some form of a ermanent air detac#ment stationed in Poland wit# a rotating 6-2>3 and ;-29 resence !" 732>. 1owever& Russia #as criticiAed t#e BM$ agreement& and several .+T5 mem!ers -- including @erman" and ;rance -- su ort it te idl". Russia #as made a counter ro osal in w#ic# Russia would !e involved in .+T5's missile defense structure -- somet#ing 4as#ington and t#e 6entral )uro eans !al( at. T#e 4estern )uro eans& articularl" @erman"& are willing to consider a se arate !ut integrated :on some level< s"stem. Russia' involvement in )uro ean missile defense would assure Moscow t#at 4as#ington is not using t#e issue to furt#er its alliance wit# Poland and stretc# its influence furt#er into t#e former Soviet s #ere. <h3>Further Cooperation</h3> )ven if Russia and t#e United States are not read" to tac(le t#e larger strategic Duestion of t#eir current and future relations#i or start to diffuse t#eir differences& t#ere are a few areas in w#ic# t#e" can furt#er t#eir coo eration. T#e first is an issue t#at will naturall" rise !etween Biden and t#e Russian leaders#i : current insta!ilit" in t#e Middle )ast #tt ://www.stratfor.com/t#eme/middle-east-unrest-full-coverage . Unli(e t#e United States& Russia is not a maEor la"er in t#e d"namics of t#e unsta!le countries. 1owever& Russia does #ave ties to one of t#e sus ected instigators of events in man" of t#e unsta!le states: -ran. -n addition& Russia is starting to notice similar insta!ilit" ossi!l" stirring in a few of t#e former Soviet states& li(e +Aer!aiEan& ossi!l" lin(ed to -ran. -t is in !ot# Russia and t#e United States' interests to #ave a coordinated olic" on #andling suc# events and t#eir instigators -- even more so since t#e United States and Russia are on t#e U.S6& w#ic# #as !een discussing t#e unrest. T#e ot#er area w#ere more coo eration is ossi!le is su ort for o erations in +fg#anistan #tt ://www.stratfor.com/anal"sis/733%27370o ortunistic0#el ing0#and0afg#anistan . Russia #as a vested interest in t#e United States' rel"ing more on Russian su ort. Russia is alread" transiting goods t#roug# its territor" and #as negotiated for transit t#roug# t#e 6entral +sian states. But Russia is also wor(ing on eB anded su ort for .+T5 mem!ers w#o are former 4arsaw Pact states and su l"ing actual wea ons and #ardware to t#e allies. +lt#oug# Biden's tri #as t#e Russians on edge a!out w#at t#e traditionall" Russian-war" vice resident mig#t want to discuss& and #ostilities !etween Russia and t#e United States are still festering& coo eration !etween Moscow and 4as#ington can rovide a sense of warmt# !etween t#e countries even t#oug# t#e situation is muc# more com leB.