The changing relationship between Russia and North Korea has its beginnings when the Soviet Union and China became rivals for influence within the Communist world. In the contemporary context, there is a triangle of complicated relations involving Russia, China and the United States.
In an analysis of the history of Russian foreign policy, Michael Mandelbaum quoted former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who observed that no important international question could be resolved ”without the Soviet Union or in opposition to it”. While that was the standard during the Soviet era when the Kremlin was routinely opposed to Western initiatives, Russia is well past that powerful situation and now focuses on certain regions as being paramount while others are only peripheral concerns. What we now refer to as Russia’s post-Communist foreign policy began before the collapse of the USSR when Mikhail Gorbachev began to speak of values other than those of Marxism-Leninism as the driving forces of international policy. Under Gorbachev’s ”new thinking”, there was a focus on universal values such as a clean environment and not simply the advancement of ”international class struggle”.
For Gorbachev, it was important that the Kremlin be able to cooperate with the West and be integrated into Western institutions that helped shape the international economy. Of course, this innovation eliminated the USSR as the main benefactor of those states which once comprised the ”Soviet bloc”. The Brezhnev doctrine was repudiated and the Soviet military would no longer guarantee the maintenance of Communist party regimes in East Europe.1
Stephen R. Bowers, PhD – is Professor of Government at Helms School of Government, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia and Annual Visiting Professor at Romanian American University, Bucharest. In addition to his teaching experience, Bowers has had governmental assignments relevant to International Relations and East European Politics. He founded the Center for Security and Science
Kelli M. Nab – is a graduate of Helms School of Government at Liberty University and an associate of the Center for Security and Science