A Half-Democratic Russia Will Always be a Half-Ally to the United States

The improvement in Russian-American relations is one of the few positive factors in the muddled picture of international relations today. Russian President Vladimir Putin's support for the American struggle against international terrorism has elevated communications between two former enemies to a new level. The upcoming November summit will be yet another sign of this. Politicians on either sides of the ocean are even calling the US and Russia "allies." Noting the decisiveness with which President Putin supports the US and Washington's extremely positive reaction to this, many Russian politicians and public figures have began speaking openly of Russia's entry into Western organizations and unions. Membership in the World Trade Organization is discussed in Moscow as an obvious reward Russia should receive for supporting American military actions; entry into the European Union is brought up as a relatively near goal, and so forth. The hopes are great, but do they reflect reality? Inflated expectations and skewed assessments of the speed and character of Russia's integration into the West are dangerous.