August 31, 2009

Russia in the Middle East

Russia in the Middle East (Excerpt)

August 2009

In recent years Russian foreign policy has stressed the value of legally binding agreements, over the political declarations and personal rapport that characterized the Gorbachev-Yeltsin era. Acting abroad, Moscow pursues three principal objectives: multipolarity; regional security; and promotion of economic interests in its "natural sphere of influence" and worldwide (mainly cooperation in the energy, military, and technology sectors). A review of its foreign policy doctrine reveals that Russia aims to:

1. Become an influential world center

2. Create favorable external conditions for the modernization of its economy

3. Influence global processes through the UN (using its veto right in the Security Council)

4. Search for common interests with other actors to advance Russia's national priorities and ensure its international position

5. Promote good neighborly relations, and assist in eliminating the existing hotbeds of conflict (which is apparently a lip service goal, in light of its actions in Georgia in 2008, the handling of the crisis over gas transit through the Ukraine to Europe in the winter of 2009, and the "milk war" with Byelorussia in June 2009)

6. Provide comprehensive protection of rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens and compatriots abroad

7. Propagate its culture and cultivate a positive image of the country

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