From Izvestia, May 25, 2021, p. 3. Condensed text:

The upcoming meeting between the US and Russian presidents is a rare positive moment amidst a gloomy and dangerous atmosphere when relations between the two states have reached a historic low. Above all, it’s important to understand that the main causes of the crisis are not Russia’s alleged interference in the US [presidential] election, hacker attacks, the treatment of Aleksei Navalny, or the events in Ukraine, the Crimea or Syria.

If we recall what many US politicians and media outlets said long before all these events, we can see that their anti-Russian rhetoric does not really differ from today’s rhetoric. The most important cause is Washington’s self-declaration of its role as the exclusive and irreplaceable world leader/hegemon after the fall of the Soviet Union, and contemporary Russia’s refusal to accept this claim.

In an opinion article published in The New York Times in 2013, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin wrote the following about “American exceptionalism”: “There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

Nevertheless, in the past, such as in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev and Russia under Yeltsin, we were prepared to be the US’s junior partner in exchange for security guarantees and economic aid. But, as we all know, history developed in a different direction.

Contrary to [then-US president] George Bush Sr.’s promises to end the cold war and create enhanced security from Vancouver to Vladivostok, under [former US president] Bill Clinton NATO launched a Drang nach Osten campaign and almost doubled the number of its members with the strategic goal of surrounding Russia. As far as economic “aid” was concerned, all that Russia received prior to 2000 was numerous “advisors,” who robbed the country alongside local oligarchs and led the economy into default.

Here is what The Washington Post wrote in August 1999:

“What makes the Russian case so sad is that the Clinton administration may have squandered one of the most precious assets imaginable: the idealism and good will of the Russian people as they emerged from 70 years of Communist rule. The Russia debacle may haunt us for generations. [Then vice-president] Gore played a key role in that messy process, and he has a lot of explaining to do.” . . .

Today, mainstream US media is doing everything within its power to incite anti-Russia hysteria and block any information that does not match the image of Russia as the enemy.

History could have taken a different path when, after the tragedy of September 11, Putin offered the US more help in Afghanistan than all the NATO members combined, and proposed wide-ranging US-Russian cooperation or even an alliance similar to the one the two countries had during World War II. The only condition was that this alliance be built on the principles of equal partnership. However, this sound proposal was deemed totally unacceptable by Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Instead, [then-US president George] W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty, invaded Iraq in violation of international law, launched a crusade for democracy and “color revolutions” within the former Soviet Union, interfered in the 2004 election in Ukraine, and insisted on an expanded NATO that would include Ukraine and Georgia.

[Former US president] Barack Obama followed Bush Jr.’s example by continuing his wars and starting a series of new wars in the Middle East that brought death, suffering and destruction to millions of people. For Russia, Obama’s most provocative action was his support for the coup in Ukraine in 2014.

During his campaign, [former US president] Donald Trump promised to end all these wars and improve relations with Russia, but to no avail. . . .