I do not expect that the meeting between Bush and Putin in Washington brings about changes. They are not obliged to make decisions. If we follow up on the meeting, we would realize that they are addressing the same issues analysed when the USSR still existed: security (now transformed in the war against terrorism), nuclear weapons, and the possibilities of discussions on energy matters. During the Cold War period, relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were the axis for international relations, whereas nowadays they are asymmetric. Russia is not interested in the United States and does not know what it could propose to the United States. After the collapse of the USSR, we had the possibility to change things, but we let ourselves be led by euphoria and we believed that we would change from worst enemies to loyal friends. However, it did not happen like that. At the moment, we are neither friends nor enemies; we are just in the middle. There are no risks for conflicts, but the basis of our relation has not changed. There is cooperation when there are interests; when it does not work that way, Bush and Putin talk on the phone and decide to ignore the problem, so that the issues are ignored and remain unsolved. The problem of Iran, for example, could have been resolved ten years ago. Neither issues related to the strategy towards China nor the stabilization of the energetic market have been assessed.
We build hopes over summits and other decorative communication scenarios, but Putin and Bush respect each other and do not wish to go into the conflict. The situation might change in 2008 if relations between the new presidents cool down even more and then, we will realize of the catastrophic vacuity of our relations.
The UN is a good international humanitarian organization but it is not in conditions to address global political issues. It was not created for that purpose, but to regulate relations between the two superpowers during the Cold War period. The UN structure was based upon sovereignty of the states, but we are increasingly facing more threats, which do not have a formal governmental nature. Bin Laden is not president and Al Qaeda is not a state. However, people talk about him in UN summits and threaten to impose sanctions on him. The UN is not in conditions to ensure security and world stability.
The G-8 is an alternative tool to the UN political activities: expanded to 20 or 30 members it could become a new organization. The desire to abandon the UN is normal. There is no reason to continue being tied down to a structure after a war that ended 60 years ago. Today, the United States sees the UN as a guinea pig that is used for experiments, which will allow to understand how the future organization will work.
The UN is not useful to the U.S. as a structure. It offers the opportunity to show the desire to act within the framework of international cooperation. Bush wants to show that he is not alone, that other countries share his views. He will forget about his speech as soon as he had read it to fully turn into Realpolitik.

Vremya Novostyey (Russia)

“ООН — подопытная свинка Америки″″, by Nikolai Zlobin, Vremya Novostyey, September 15, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.