Russia and the United States have had a complex history of national relations. The tensions between the two governments and societies have largely risen from post-Cold War ideologies and unmet expectations from both sides. The assertion that “Russia seeks to maintain good relations with the U.S. to advance Russian national interests” relies heavily on the assumption that the U.S. will reciprocate Russia’s cooperation with any gestures of goodwill towards Russia. Russia seeks to be an independent power in the global arena and for its interests to be at the forefront of other nations’ foreign policy decision making. Many elite Russian politicians are still interested in seeing their country return to its previous glory in being seen as a peer to the U.S., able to enforce its will upon its own area of the world and be consulted when it comes to transnational issues, rather than simply a shadow of its Soviet past to be ignored.
Moscow has worked to achieve recognition from and reduce tension with Washington through joint efforts in areas of shared national interests such as counterterrorism and nuclear regulation. This cooperation was misread by the United States that Russia was taking steps to become more integrated in the values of the West and ready to accept liberalized, democratic. capitalist society, and join the U.S. led common security committee as Germany and Japan had already done at the close of World War II. However, the purpose of this cooperation was not to bow to U.S. hegemony, but to better Russian-U.S. relations in the name of increased influence on the global stage and over U.S. policy makers. The implications of this for the U.S. is that Russia does not wish to be ignored, and that if the relationship between the two countries is to improve, the U.S. must take Russia more seriously and not undermine promises made during peace.