Engulfed Washington madness concerning contacts between members of the team trump and Russia diverted attention from the first serious test of the campaign promises of the new American President with regards to improving relations with Moscow. Today on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bonn hosts the first official meeting between senior officials of both parties — Clinton’s Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
With a neutral meeting place — the former capital of West Germany, turned into diplomatic calm centre parties-veterans in their fields will be submitted that the risk of unpleasant surprises are kept to a minimum (although absolutely confident in our time to be hard).
The Russian side hinted that on the agenda may prove to be the Syrian issue is potentially more fruitful topic number one than, say, Ukraine or European security. Also at the event to discuss a possible time and venue of the first summit between Putin and trump. The rest of today’s meeting looks more like a trial than something more substantial.
Then the diplomatic caravan will travel to Munich for an annual security conference, during which the participants will certainly remember that exactly 10 years ago on this forum the President of Russia Vladimir Putin harshly criticized the West and particularly NATO enlargement. It is also the same event two years later, Vice President Barack Obama Joe Biden first proposed the ill-fated “reset” of relations with Russia.
This time to try his hand at restoring relations with Russia after a difficult by any measure, the decade is a former employee of the oil company, Rex Tillerson. Despite its deliberate restraint, these first contacts will be crucial in determining the future character of the negotiations. The thaw in relations with the Kremlin was one of the most consistent, and, it turns out, the most controversial aspects of the presidential campaign of Donald trump. The resignation of Michael Flynn in less than a month after his appointment to the post of national security adviser has revealed all suspicion of Washington on the normalization of relations with Moscow. The event will be a lot of people, eager to disrupt any rapprochement, preferably at the first hurdle, which is meeting today in Bonn.
The determination of the trump to adhere to the policy of rapprochement with Russia — and this is one of those matters in respect of which he did not hesitate with the inauguration — says that Tillerson will be instructed to identify common ground and to do nothing that could hinder progress at an early stage. There is every indication that Sergei Lavrov, the cautious diplomat with extensive experience, are given very similar instructions.
For a long time all attention was riveted on Washington, and the interest of Russia and its President in strengthening relations with the United States in the months of incessant recrimination concerning the relations between the two parties, as a rule, ignored. There was a widespread assumption that trump the Kremlin has supported from the beginning and by hook or by crook tried to help him to win.
Leaving aside the very dubious evidence, all the signals from the Kremlin indicate that Russia wants to improve relations at least as much as trump, and perhaps even stronger. One such indication was Putin’s decision not to take any retaliatory measures on the principle of an eye for an eye for the diplomatic exception that I have made in the last days of his presidency, Barack Obama. The other is the extreme care with which after the election of trump’s Moscow approach to his dealings with Washington. She tried not to say and do nothing that could endanger attempts to tie friendly relations with the new administration. Such secrecy suggests that Putin has at least the same with trump political capital invested in the reboot from the United States, and far fewer options in the event of failure.
For the new U.S. President’s time is coming no doubt difficult, but for the Russian President risks looking for new terms of cooperation with the United States may be even more.