A few years ago, when I would occasionally read Mark Galeotti’s commentary and analysis of Russia, I’d often disagree with his take, preferring professors Richard Sakwa and Dominic Lieven as the best British experts on Russia. However, Galeotti actually gives a more nuanced and interesting analysis during this interview with Russian journalist Oksana Boyko on Worlds Apart. A lot of what makes this an interesting discussion is Boyko’s pushback on some of the assumptions that Galeotti rolls out about Russia and Putin, which forces Galeotti to backtrack on some of the things he starts to say that, in my opinion, reflect lazy and stereotypical thinking. I think Galeotti knows better, but he’s so used to providing the group think assessment of Russia that the Anglo-American establishment demands that it’s a conditioned response.
Having a more reasonable sounding view of Russia suddenly seems to be gaining popularity. After last week’s G7 meeting – the mutual admiration society of the western liberal democracies – French president Macron made comments acknowledging that western hegemony in its recent iteration since the end of the Cold War is declining. He also acknowledged that western nations needed to change their current attitude toward Russia or risk dangerous and unnecessary strategic errors that are not in the west’s long-term interests, like a Russian partnership with China. Macron also wants to position France as a key arbiter of relations within Europe, filling the void that will be left by Britain’s exit from the EU and Merkel’s declining influence on behalf of Germany.
According to a new Rasumussen poll out last Friday, 56% of likely U.S. voters believe that ” … having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability.” Furthermore, the respondents admitted that Trump was actually being aggressive in his policies toward Russia. This appears to be evidence that the basic premise of the Russiagate narrative has been effectively debunked for a good portion of the electorate.