James W. Peterson
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Russia and America confront terrorism, 1994–2004
A foundation of understanding
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In the 1990s, Russia’s wars in Chechnya alientated the officials in the Clinton administration, for they deemed the response by the Yeltsin government to be an overreaction to the acts committed by Chechnyan terrorists. However, the Twin Towers attacks in 2001 created a certain common understanding between the two powers. In spite of the contrasting attitudes of the two towards bin Laden and al Qaeda during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, responses to global terrorism put them on the same page in the new century. With the support of NATO’s Article 5, the American decision to invade Afghanstan and dislodge the Taliban met with allied approval and support. However, there was considerable controversy between Moscow and Washington over the Iraq war that America commenced with the Coalition of the Willing in 2003. Russian leaders condemned this invasion as an illustration of an American overreach as well as an inappropriate response to the 9/11 attacks. One commonality in the effort to contain terrorism was considerable administrative centralization within both political systems.

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