The U.S has missed the boat to St. Petersburg. In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. made it clear to the new Russian Federation that they would never be welcome in the new NATO. This was one of the greatest foreign policy errors in the history of the U.S. This proved that Washington and Moscow would continue to be enemies, or at least rivals, into the 21st century. Despite The “reset button” of President Obama, this has become a self fulfilling prophecy. The U.S. now finds itself in conflict with Russia over Russia’s sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, which the Unites States wants to engage, but Russia considers to be a region over which it still has large amounts of control.
The Eastern European question is, in all likelihood, the greatest intra-European conflict in the next twenty years. Many of the former Soviet republics have gained membership in the European Union, but the U.S. needs to do more to make sure that the others do not fall back into the Russian orbit, especially as Russia seems to grow more authoritarian every year. Ukraine is one of the great prizes of east, is still completely up for grabs. In 2005, the “Orange Revolution” threatened to turn them into an entirely proto-western nation, but recent political shifts have changed that. The ruling party of the Ukraine is now not only pro-Russian, but is supported by the Russian ethnic minority in the east and southeast of the country. Russia certainly plans to maintain her dominance in the region, extending its lease on a port on the Black Sea in the Crimea for several years, and even beginning to offer passports to ethnic Russians in the Crimea. For this reason, the United States must do more to expand ties with Ukraine, as it is very important to maintain U.S. ties in the region as their current influence is due to decline. Russian influence could undermine the fragile democracy of the nation. Meanwhile, the United States must continue to work for a more cordial relationship with Russia, as the U.S. simply needs as many allies as she can get. For this reason, it is an absolute necessity that the United States ratify the new START treaty.