In Moscow, all foresee a turn in relations with Russia. But it will not last long, 2 years: “Because Donald is not re-elected”.
One can only guess why, in the words of Vladimir Putin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt could “roll over in his grave.” But even if that were the case, involuntarily the question whether there is a movement in the grave of President “New deal” that “us Democrats have forgotten what the word “Democrat” a”, according to the Russian leader, or the fact that Roosevelt worried about the idea that isolationist Donald trump is going to settle in the White house.
Whatever it was, rarely in the history of relations between Moscow and Washington, the shift in the political mood in the United States caused the Kremlin so many expectations and plans.
Doubts about the election campaign, public praise elected President of the United States to the strong leadership of Putin, the restoration of Moscow’s global role, what is actually said trump, touched a deep chord incredibly receptive of the Russian identity. In addition, certainly a telling signal is the appointment to head the state Department, the head of Exxon Mobil and a good friend of Putin and Rex Tillerson (Rex Tillerson). However, the Moscow establishment is excited not only to find the prospect of finally satisfying the requirements in respect of a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union and existence of the rights pariah state. In fact, Putin and his diplomats had carefully prepared for a meeting with Donald trump, decided not to miss this (somewhat unexpected) chance and being sure that another reset of relations with Washington will not last forever.
Tasks to which the Kremlin relies? What are the goals of Vladimir Putin hopes to achieve? What exactly does “a qualitative leap in our relations,” wrote the Russian President in a letter to Trump, congratulating him on the coming New year? And most importantly, how and when the advancing thawing will affect numerous policy contradictions between the two countries?
“The most important change for Putin is that with trump in the White house of U.S. foreign policy will be removed mantra of regime change”, — says Dmitry Suslov, Director of the Center for European studies at the Higher school of Economics, one of the most close to the Kremlin think-tank. According to the scientist, the regime change was a leitmotif not only of the Bush administration, but during the reign of Obama: “Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine — different models, open or veiled, but the goal was always the same. Even against Russia extreme goal, though not declared, was the creation of conditions for the end of Putin’s power. Now this period has ended, and you can start again.”
Consent in relation to Syria and Ukraine
The first inevitable consequence of this condition should be full cooperation in Syria and the middle East. “The interests of the parties in this region are almost identical: the fight against radical jihadism in all its forms, whether ISIS (banned in Russia as a terrorist organization) or the heirs of al Qaida like al-Nusra (banned terrorist organizations — approx. ed.)”, — said Suslov, adding that Moscow is ready “to conduct joint military operations, and share intelligence with the Americans”.
Further, the question remains with Ukraine and the pressure on the Eastern front of NATO. “Trump considers a useless confrontation with Russia in Central and Eastern Europe. Unlike Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, he sees the Ukraine issue, not chance,” says Sergei Markov, an analyst with foreign policy, former member of party “United Russia” in the Duma.
Sanctions the node
Cancel whether trump sanctions? Markov sure. Suslov is more cautious: “it is Unlikely that he will act in the unilateral interests, but one of his appearance in the White house will have a strong influence on Kiev to implement the Minsk agreement. Before the U.S. election, the government Poroshenko buying time, trying to buy time in anticipation of victory, Hillary Clinton, who likely would provide Ukraine with weapons and denounced the Minsk agreement. This does not happen, besides the Europeans are tired of the Ukrainian crisis. The coming to power of trump and the victory of Fillon in the elections in France will create a new momentum for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and this, according to Putin’s expectations, will contribute to the easing of sanctions, if not their complete removal”. As for NATO, trump has clearly stated its “utilitarian” approach. This does not mean that he will reduce the military presence, but “solidarity towards the Baltic States and Poland will no longer be something taken for granted. The new presidential administration will seek to avoid any provocations against Moscow.” The Kremlin expects to resume cooperation within the Council NATO-Russia.
Sergei Markov, indicates another possible path of development associated with delusions of grandeur that distinguishes the two leaders. “Putin loves economic mega-projects and found a perfect interlocutor in the face of trump. An example of such a project? Joint researches of oil deposits in the Arctic sea.”
Differences in China
However, no one in Moscow does not Harbor naive optimism. Even when President Donald trump in the best of all possible worlds can’t be good. Too many factors that negatively affect strategic U.S.-Russian equation. And the first of them is China. “Trump — says Suslov, sees Beijing as a strategic rival. All new spending on weaponry, which he said will definitely go to military locations in the Pacific ocean. He would like to see Putin as an ally in this scenario. It is exactly the opposite of what did Nixon and Kissinger in the 70-ies when they used China as anti-Soviet weapon”. “But we, — says the Russian diplomat, the — not ready to jeopardize relations with Beijing to the satisfaction of America.” China is an enormous economic chance. Besides, Putin considers Eurasia a strategic priority”.
Another obstacle to rapprochement between Russia and America represents Iran. “Putin should not compromise or agree to the termination of the nuclear agreement with Tehran,” — says Suslov. However, the most sensitive issue is the control arms, given that trump is hostile to any external limitations to the question of defence. “Likely a final rejection of the Treaty on the elimination of nuclear missiles, medium-range and shorter-range, and a new race for rearmament. So the question arises, what then will happen to the reboot”.
All my interlocutors agree on one conclusion: if trump at the White house in relations with Moscow is entering a new cycle, which will be tangible positive results. However, no one in the Kremlin does not build any illusions. The window of opportunity will be open for long, high, for two years. Further contradictions will prevail. “We are facing a new stagnation, and after four years in America may be, the new President”.