Strategic Foresight Initiative Director Mathew J. Burrows cowrites for The National Interest on how the United States and Russia can find common ground for cooperation, highlighting a recently released report by the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative and the Moscow-based Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) that discusses how to find that common ground:
It was no coincidence that Vladimir Putin went from being an outlier at last year’s G-20 meeting to being the man to see at the recent G-20 conclave in Turkey. From the refugee crisis rippling through the EU to new waves of terrorism, from the outbreak of multilayered ethnic and religious conflict in Syria to the unraveling of the state system in the Middle East, Moscow’s activism places it at the epicenter of all these crises.
Yet this new status comes at a moment when the strategic and political gulf between Russia and the West is reminiscent of the Cold War. Against this backdrop, the old adage “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” would seem to apply to U.S. and Western reluctance to work with Russia in battling ISIS and reducing chaos in the Middle East. If we want to see results, in this polycentric world, we may not have the freedom we once had to choose our partners.
None of the so-called “great powers,” including the U.S., is able to call the shots anymore, and there are competing visions of what kind of new world order should exist. The supreme irony is that the growing disorder in the international system comes at a time when the world is more economically interdependent than ever, and we all share a strong interest in combatting terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change and a host of other global challenges.
At root, the very success of globalization—connecting economies, people and nations—is creating wider gaps between the haves and have-nots. And these disparities will only get worse as the emerging technologies favor those at the core, not the periphery, of the world economy.
In parallel with (and perhaps in reaction to) globalization, a trend of nativism and inward-looking nationalism is sweeping across the world from Europe to the Middle East and Far East. The U.S. presidential election campaign is no exception, where Republican presidential candidates and state governors have been outdoing each other, for example, on how to keep out any Syrian refugees.
What’s the solution? Over the last year, the Moscow-based Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), and the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative have conducted a joint study of global trends without major disagreement on the analysis, especially on four action points: