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The September 11, 2001 tragedy, when two planes hijacked by terrorists
The September 11, 2001 tragedy, when two planes hijacked by terrorists hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, encouraged Russia and the Untied States, the world's two most powerful nuclear states, to join hands in the fight against the common threat.

We thought it would also open the door to a new era in international cooperation, with the global powers standing up as one to build a fair and safe world order, contrary to the end of history predicted by Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama, an American philosopher, political economist and author.

Alas, it turned out that joining forces against someone is much easier than working together for a noble goal. It turned out that there are more things keeping us apart than can bring us together. We cannot "stand up as one and fight" because now is the time of mutual complaints and accusations, mistrust and irritation.

In short, all our expectations, dreams and forecasts have been proved wrong. Memorial ceremonies for the victims of the September 11, 2001 tragedy are a chance to stop and think why our dreams, which seemed within reach seven years ago, have not materialized.

In the seven years since then, the world has not become a safer, more stable and comfortable place to live.

The counterterrorist alliance has split, first over Iraq and later because of Iran.

Disregarding Russia's arguments, the West recognized Kosovo's independence.

New lines of division have appeared in the world, and the United States is preparing to deploy antimissile systems in Europe close to Russia's border.

Our closest neighbors, Georgia and Ukraine, have been invited into NATO.

We have not found a common language for dealing with partners, or agreed a common development strategy.

Taken together, this amounts to failure to promote mutual understanding.

Russia is suspected of nurturing poisonous plans and is pictured as a country hostile to the West and its values.

When Georgia attacked South Ossetia, the world entered what seems like a long period of very cool relations between Russia and the West. The inviolability of borders and territorial integrity are very painful issues, which is why the West has not supported Russia's decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The international community is not molding its policy to suit Russia.

In fact, they have decided to treat Russia as an outcast, despite the apparent fact that it did right in the conflict with Georgia.

The trouble is that separatism (or the right of nations to self-determination) is too big a threat to encourage an adequate reaction to Russia's decision. It is not surprising then that Spain, Belgium, Britain, Cyprus, Turkey, China, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and many other countries have not supported Russia.

Russia has again been branded an aggressive bully ready to act contrary to the opinion of the majority of the international community. It is being pushed into isolation.

This is unlikely to affect the quality of life in Russia, and energetic explanations of our stance will eventually put everything right. However, they did not try to understand us even before South Ossetia, and understanding is crucial for cooperation.

Foreign policy is one of our partners' weak spots; otherwise they would have acted more flexibly and wisely with regard to Russia.

I am not a fan of "sovereign democracy," but they must recognize Russia's right to a stance and to pursue a foreign policy in its own interests. Nobody has yet cancelled national interests, have they?

Attempts to use measures usually applied to small countries in relations with Russia are counterproductive. Russia is a huge country straddling two continents, and the notions of wealth and diversity can be applied not only to cultures, traditions, religions and languages, but also to size. Russia has both Europe and Asia as its neighbors, and it stands on both the Pacific and the Arctic.

Being a big state, it has big, non-standard interests. The world should take this into account.

And lastly, Russia's contribution to global stability and security has been seriously underrated. The Soviet Union and the socialist countries could have collapsed much more catastrophically, with much more bloodshed and tragedy. As it is, only Russia paid for the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We remember this very well and wonder why other countries have forgotten it. So don't expect us to criticize our actions.

The Twin Towers, Iraq, Kosovo, South Ossetia and discussions of sanctions are a shortcut into a dead-end. And we thought everything would be better in 2001.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.


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