The draft resolution on new sanctions against Iran introduced by the US at the UN Security Council last Tuesday has caught Moscow in a trap set primarily by its own unprincipled diplomatic maneuvering.
This diplomatic blunder is undeniably personal because President, Dmitry Medvedev, had persistently sought to become involved in the talks. Current economic statistics show the picture of an uncertain recovery, but perhaps the most telling figure is the sustained decline in foreign investments, which has registered a five-year low in the first quarter of 2010, and the high level of “capital flight,” primarily to Switzerland (Vedomosti, May 21). This may be the most definite “litmus test” of Medvedev’s opportunistic foreign policy, in which flexible tactical maneuvering brings a sustained erosion of trust. Spinning the discourse of “innovations” Medvedev is in fact presiding over Russia’s continuing de-modernization, determined not by the high profitability of raw materials extraction and export, but by the bureaucratic super-structure that expropriates and consumes these profits. The unavoidable tightening of budget expenditures in the political system based on rent-extraction and glued together by corruption would lead to both more ruthless predation and more destructive clan feuds. In this situation, a policy of exploiting other states’ troubles guarantees that your own troubles would also be seen as someone’s opportunities.