Why Should Americans Care About Russia?

Before the Russia-Georgia war, the Discovery Institute’s Real Russia Project, which relative to most members of the U.S. foreign policy commentariat provides a decidedly contrarian view of Russia, wrote a short pamphlet called “10 Reasons Americans Should Care About Russia.”

According to the project’s Yuri Mamchur, the report remains valid. “Perhaps as tempers cool, people of good will can consider what is at stake; what there is to gain, and what there is to lose,” he writes. Here’s the full report, and here’s a list of the 10 reasons:

1. Russia is the world’s largest country, straddling Europe, China and the Islamic World.

2. Russia and America have traditionally been allies — not enemies.

3. Russia can be a quiet partner, not an adversary in the global struggle against terrorism.

4. Russia benefits from (and might help provide) stability in the Middle East and Iran.

5. Russia is a pivotal player in global energy markets.

6. Russia and America are interlinked through their financial systems.

7. American investors and U.S. companies are investing in Russia.

8. Russia and America are interlinked through their nuclear power industries.

9. America and Russia are interlinked through science and technology.

10. Russian popular culture is once again reaching audiences in the West.

All reasonable enough — except for maybe No. 10. Not sure I buy that one. They point to Russian filmmakers and the advent of Russian-language hip-hop. But in my mind the zenith of Russian influence on American popular culture came during the dying days of the Soviet Union. Anyone remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff and the hair-metal band Gorky Park?

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