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17 January, 2017
Remarks on “Russia: The Threat, the International Order, and the Way Forward,” | usun.state.gov
While people tend to look to the Cold War as the paradigm for understanding the nature of U.S.-Russia relations, the reality is that for pivotal parts of our shared history, U.S. and Russian interests have frequently aligned. We fought together in both of the 20th century’s world wars. Indeed, had it not been for the colossal sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in World War Two – in which they lost more than 20 million people, many times more than any other nation, friend or foe – the war would have dragged on much longer, millions more Americans and people of other Allied countries would likely have lost their lives, and fascism may well have prevailed in large parts of the world. Not to mention that the post-World War Two order may never have been built. Russia’s immense contribution in that war is part of their proud history of standing up to imperialist powers, from the Mongols in the 16th century to Napoleon in the 19th century. In addition, many of the challenges that Russia faces today – from violent extremism and China’s territorial expansionist aims, to national industries and jobs that have been rendered obsolete by globalization – are ones we also face here in the United States. So it is very much in our interest to try to solve problems with Russia. Dialogue between us is absolutely imperative.
Having said that, anyone who has seen my debates in the UN Security Council with Russia knows that I and my government have long had serious concerns about its government’s aggressive and destabilizing actions. The argument I want to make today goes beyond any particular action Russia has taken to its broader strategy, and what that means for the security of the United States.