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Unlearned lessons Dmitry Medvedev’s op-ed on the ‘return to the Cold War era’ — in a nutshell

Source: Meduza

On Friday, April 23, the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti published a column by former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Titled “The Unlearned Lessons of History,” Medvedev’s op-ed warns that U.S.–Russia relations have “returned to the Cold War era.” The way he sees it, Washington has fallen into old patterns of aggressive policies and rhetoric, which, according to the former Russian prime minister, lead to a dead end in terms of relations with Moscow. Here’s Medvedev’s argument, in a nutshell. 

Relations between Russia and the United States have returned to the Cold War era. In the 1960s, our country was forced to respond to the aggressive policies of the U.S. — and the Cuban Missile Crisis took place. Today, these policies have returned in the form of sanctions, NATO expansion, and an organized harassment campaign against Russia. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the situation was saved by the leaders of two superpowers, who recognized the wisdom of compromise — they were in equal dialogue, without threats and ultimatums. They learned that cooperation is better than confrontation, but now the U.S. has slipped into unstable foreign policy once again: it abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty. They speak about the need for dialogue, but at the same time increase pressure and raise tensions. To extinguish conflicts, there needs to be a willingness to abandon the language of ultimatums and rudeness. This is precisely why this rhetoric of “Russia will pay the price” — though it sounds very American — leads directly to a dead end. Since the fall of the USSR, the U.S. has simply lost the habit of equal dialogue and now it doesn’t have the fortitude to admit that someone in the world might have comparable military-political potential. Russia or China, for example. 

This is a paraphrased summary of Dmitry Medvedev’s column for RIA Novosti. You can read the full version in Russian here.

Summary by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Eilish Hart

Cover photo: Dmitry Astakhov / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

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