ABSTRACT

With the end of the Cold War many things have changed in world politics, most notably in US-Russian relations and in Russia's behaviour in foreign affairs. Yet, some recent diplomatic positions and actions of Russia in the domain of regional conflict management and resolution are quite reminiscent of past Soviet conduct in this domain. At the same time, some of the US reactions remind us of earlier American attitudes dating back at least to the Cold War era. Thus, there is much in common to President Boris Yeltsin's call in June 1994 for an international conference on the North Korean nuclear crisis, the Russian proposal in early 1994 to reconvene an international conference to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, and to the Russian broker urging the West during the Sarajevo crisis of February 1994 to treat his country as an 'equal partner'. Despite the warming of USRussian relations in the last few years, the US reaction to these ideas has been somewhat lukewarm. At the same time, there is a growing worry in the West that Russian treatment of the ex-Soviet republics resembles earlier imperialist tendencies of both the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia vis-a-vis its weak neighbors. These coercive tactics can be contrasted with US hesitations about using force in its own backyard against Haiti, its reluctance to impose a settlement on the weak party in the Bosnian conflict - the Muslims, and its relatively benign leadership of the post-Gulf War Middle East peace process. I will argue that such diplomatic positions and actions by the US and Russia reflect, at least to some extent, a continuation of certain patterns demonstrated uring the Cold War, most notably in the Middle East. Since these patterns were not caused by the Cold War, they are likely to continue in the post-Cold War era so long as the causal factors which have led to their emergence in the first place are going to be in effect.