A malicious interpretation of the title of this analysis could lead one to assume that it is attributing masculinity to one nation and femininity to the other. However, what I mean to do is highlight the relationship between these two glorious nations during the last few years, rather than focus on which is stronger or weaker.
Though Russia possesses a rich and complex history, its modernization begins only 20 years ago, at the beginning of the ‘90s, when its new political history took shape with leaders like Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and Dimitri Medvedev, who have governed the country in relatively similar ways. Those years of tension between the United States and the USSR, owed to the Cold War, are history; from 2008 to date, we've witnessed something radically different than those images that showed submarines, missile bases, aircraft carriers, etc., possessions of both sides used to deter the other, to possessions that American President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dimitri Medvedev now share, be it out in public, in a White House room or the presidential limousine, with the traditional and well-done American hamburger, sodas, french fries, onion rings and smiles of a cordial complicity.
When the Medvedev administration took over in Russia and decided to start a military campaign in Georgia, the international community thought that Russian-American relations would become even more complicated than they had been under Putin's government; however, even having recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia — going against the European Union and the interests of the United States — a series of events would "keep the blood from reaching the river." Fortunately for Georgia, those problems coincided with the world financial crisis of 2008; as a result, the issue of Russia and Georgia would be granted a blank slate, which, through Sarkozy's mediation, would finally reach some type of resolution.
Sarkozy and Merkel were those responsible for reconciling Russia with Europe while all of that played out, and as a result, a certain affinity came between President Obama and Medvedev. From that friendship was born the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), whose acronymn in English further denotes both countries' intentions to wipe the slate clean on Russian-North American relations and whose negotiation process both presidents were personally involved in, speaking on more than 15 occasions, according to witnesses, sometimes for more than two hours.
This friendship bore important fruits for both countries and for the peace the international community has always strived for. Besides the abovementioned agreement, in October of 2009, Obama retired the construction of the anti-missile shield that the Bush administration had put in place. Russia, for its part, would support resolution 1929 of the UN Security Council by imposing sanctions on Iran and promising not to supply Ahmadinejad with the S300 ground-to-air missile launching system as it had planned.
Last year, Russia abstained from voting in favor of a resolution that would order an invasion of Libya, which, without explicitly vetoing the resolution, indirectly allowed the West to initiate a military action there in the hands of NATO. The fluid relations between Washington and Moscow were then put to the test with the scandal of the 10 Russian spies captured in the United States, who were, surprisingly, turned over to Russia several months later.
However, while this whole idyllic history of highlights between the two countries' governments has been controlled by initiatives backed by mutual cooperation and friendship, it is possible that a new threat may be seen in the ghost of the anti-missile shield system in Europe and new difficulties in reaching agreements, as well as Russia's support of the Syrian monarchy and Iran. Above all, there is the return of Vladimir Putin as president, whose ideas of Russia as the center of global power are known all too well, as is his growing level of personal power, which upsets even the very Russians he rules.