Experts

  • Position : Professor
  • Affiliation : Department of Integrated Communications, The Higher School of Economics
  • Position : PIR Center Executive Board Member and Security Index Editorial Board Member
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
  • Position : Consultant, "Global & Regional Security: New ideas for Russia" Program
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
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U.S. Presidential Election

06.11.2012

124_350_175.jpgMOSCOW, NOVEMBER 6, 2012. PIR PRESS – “With President Obama we have passed the stage known as the U.S.-Russia “Reset”, and we did it quite well. Yes, these aren’t taintless, easy bilateral relations, but there is no perceived crisis as well. We have good dialogue on certain issues, and tough dialogue on other ones. In general the dynamics of these relations is pretty high. I think that if Romney is elected, Russia would manage to build such kind of relations that enables proper dialogue. Suffice to say that for Soviet Union and Russia it was usually easier to speak to Republicans rather than to Democrats. There’s such a historic trend.” – PIR Center President Vladimir Orlov.

U.S. presidential election, held on the 6th of November, will determine who will be the head of state for the following four years. According to multiple polls neither of main candidates – incumbent President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney – managed to get a decisive lead during campaign. Thus the outcome is still unknown. Experts also avoid categorical forecasts, weighing on possible consequences of victory of each candidate instead.

PIR Center President Vladimir Orlov, interviewed in Baku by Azerbaijanian agency 1news.az (interview in Russian), is moderately optimistic about prospect of the US-Russia relations in the context of election results: “With President Obama we have passed the stage known as the U.S.-Russia “Reset”, and we did it quite well. Yes, these aren’t taintless, easy bilateral relations, but there is no perceived crisis as well. We have good dialogue on certain issues, and tough dialogue on other ones. In general the dynamics of these relations is pretty high. I think that if Romney is elected, Russia would manage to build such kind of relations that enables proper dialogue. Suffice to say that for Soviet Union and Russia it was usually easier to speak to Republicans rather than to Democrats. There’s such a historic trend.”

Dmitry Evstafiev, member of the PIR Center Advisory Board holds different opinion. In his review article published in current issue of the Security Index journal (Russian edition) he argues that Mitt Romney’s unfriendly comments towards Russia during campaign should not be regarded only as election propaganda. “Quite the opposite, if Romney wins Russia may face a rather strong pressure, even in forceful forms. Consider this: in order to consolidate elite (and if Romney wins, he will only have a slight lead) crisis is required. Initiating domestic crisis is dangerous – there’s a risk of losing leverage. That’s why it’s better to have it on international arena, and moreover in a region that is not critical. For instance, Russia.”

large_FordChristopher.jpgThe outcome of the U.S. election will influence many international processes, including nuclear disarmament. American experts Thomas Graham and Christopher Ford in their correspondence published in the Security Index journal discuss views of different camps on this issue. For example, Christopher Ford assumes “that Romney would attempt to press more vigorously for modernization of the U.S. nuclear weapons and infrastructure, would be less sympathetic to the prospect of further reductions, and would much more strongly resist limitations upon the U.S. missile defense. If he did choose to engage in further strategic negotiations, however, it might be that Romney would stand a better chance than Obama of eliciting meaningful concessions from the other side. If re-elected President Obama would at that point be unconstrained by any further direct accountability to the American voter and would plunge headlong into the disarmament enthusiasms that he has talked about for years but has so far not chosen, or had the opportunity, to make into the U.S. policy.”

bilde.jpgDespite the importance of election’s outcome with regard to international politics, American citizens and, thus, the candidates are focused on domestic issues – the economy. As PIR Center intern Oleg Shakirov notes in PIR Center official blog (post in Russian), even during foreign policy debate both Obama and Romney repeatedly referred to pressing economic problems. Yuri Fedorov, member of the PIR Center Executive Board comments on prospects for American economy after the election in his review for recent issue of the Security Index journal: “In case of Obama’s victory current losing economic strategy of this Administration won’t change but its implication will be limited and consequences mitigated as a result of opposition of Republicans in Congress. If victory goes to Romney, there would be a chance for economic recovery.”

For comments of PIR Center experts, please contact Andrey Baklitskiy by phone: +7 (495) 987-19-15 or e-mail: baklitsky at pircenter.org

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