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Analysts consider London’s demarche to be response to Russia’s independent foreign policy

November 10, 2015, 17:00 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
UK's Government headquarters

UK's Government headquarters

© AP Photo/Matt Dunham

MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. Britain’s readiness to follow in the United States’ footsteps to regard Russia as a top level threat is a quite predictable reaction to Moscow’s independent foreign policy, polled experts have told TASS.

Last Sunday, Britain’s The Times and a number of other world mass media said that British Prime Minister David Cameron would soon present a new national security strategy pointing to Russia as one of the top level threats. The other major challenges identified in the document will be mass migration-related instability, terrorism, the activity of radical groups, such as the Islamic State, and the Ebola virus disease.

In September 2014, US President Barack Obama made a similar statement to say the Ebola virus, soaring terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq and Russia’s policies in Europe were the greatest world threats.

The deputy dean of the world economy and world politics department at the Higher School of Economics, Andrey Suzdaltsev, is by no means surprised London echoed Washington’s rhetoric. "It is a concerted stance of the United States and its main European ally - Britain - which has always been in the United States’ shadow. This is a quite predictable response by Washington and London to Russia’s independent policies, above all, Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Nobody will feel surprised if other NATO countries replicate Britain’s national security strategy, because all of them are under the same US nuclear umbrella," Suzdaltsev told TASS.

"When it launched the ongoing air operation against Islamic State militants in Syria, Russia from the standpoint of the United States and Britain intervened into the sphere of their common energy interests. This explains why Washington and London are so angry. Their Middle East policies are identical twins. Both powers regard this region as a realm of their joint imperial interests," Suzdaltsev said.

Nevertheless, he believes, London’s adoption of a new national security strategy identifying Russia as the main threat will not have any major impact on bilateral relations. "This document is mostly informational and political. With the beginning of the Russian air group’s operation in Syria the degradation of Russian-Western relations came to a halt. Russia made a breakthrough into the group of world powers. Moscow is being listened to and it is being asked for advice. That was well seen in the recent telephone conversation between David Cameron and Vladimir Putin. The two men discussed what the two countries can do together to ensure the safety of their citizens after the Russian plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula," Suzdaltsev recalled.

The deputy chairman of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council (upper house of parliament), Andrey Klimov, believes that amid the problems surrounding Britain London is interested in finding an enemy image.

"The migration process in Europe, the influx of radical Islamists and preachers, as well as Cameron’s ever more frequent speculations about holding a referendum on Britain’s walkout from the European Union, can be easily blamed on a foreign threat. In a situation like this it is very convenient to have a foreign enemy - for instance, Russia, which is re-emerging as a major power," Klimov told TASS.

For the past 200 years Britain regarded the Russian Empire, then the Soviet Union, and ultimately the Russian Federation as a threat to its national interests. "Suffice it to recall the Crimean War of the mid-19th century, or Winston Churchill’s Fulton speech, which heralded the Cold War, or the current anti-Russian sanctions. These examples indicate that many Brits have an innate feeling of danger ostensibly coming from Russia. One should also remember Britain’s wish to do as the United States pleases. This explains London’s latest demarche," Klimov believes.

He does not rule out that imperial ambitions are behind London’s intension to consider a new national security strategy.

"True, Britain has the world’s oldest parliament. The English language is spoken around the world. But Britain is no longer an empire enjoying the status of a world naval power. Now it’s all in the past. Britain is forced to toe the line and to follow US policies to the letter. It is an insular state that has received major investments from wealthy Russians lately and this is worth remembering," Klimov said.

"British-Russian relations will remain on the basis of pragmatism regardless of the twists and turns in the political rhetoric. That’s the way it has always been," he concluded.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors