As soon as Donald trump became the 45th President of the United States, in the oval office has any questions regarding his international policy towards Europe, in particular regarding NATO, Russia and Ukraine. For a reason. Indeed, during the election campaign the candidate trump strike to doubt the value of NATO, admired Putin predicted the easing of sanctions against Moscow, as well as the recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Six weeks later the first signs of change of a vector of trump. In February, Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of defense James Mattis arrived in Europe mainly in order to convince NATO allies in the interest of the Alliance and to their security. During the meetings in Munich and Brussels, they expressed scepticism about Russia and its actions. They understand what’s at stake and what the desired policy of the Kremlin. Meanwhile, other administration officials have supported Ukraine and called for the continuation of the sanctions.
Many in Europe this is good, as it should be. But don’t let some anxiety, because we always stay in one tweet from a new turn in the politics of the trump. During a speech before Congress on 28 February, the President expressed support for NATO. But only with time we will understand whether trump the words of the Vice President, the defense Secretary and other administration officials about Russia and Ukraine.
Trump became President, hoping for a big deal with Putin. He has never publicly talked about what it implies (in Kiev assumed the worst). Think the President was hoping big deal will make Moscow a partner in the fight against ISIS in the middle East and will force Moscow to abandon support for the growing power of China.
Actually neither impossible. Russia conducts military operations in Syria for 18 months. And only sometimes, the aim became the IG troops (banned in Russia organization — approx. ed.). Although Russian-Chinese relations is that Washington will not be able to set Moscow against Beijing.
So that the line of the administration of the tramp remains the traditional policy of US support for NATO, opposition to the expansion of Russia, assistance to Ukraine (although, the sooner Kiev will reform the better).
And all this, of course, if we leave out the fact that tomorrow morning you may receive an unexpected tweet from the commander of the United States.
However, now the Congress understands, as will be the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election. In addition, there remain questions about contact people associated with the campaign trump and Russian politicians. The white house denies any connection, but indecisive criticism of Putin’s trump and opaque policies of some representatives of the White house more than a little suspicious.
On the contrary, if the White house tried to produce the impression that he has something to hide about Russia, he could not have done better than the last six weeks. A recent example: attorney General Jeff sessions and his communication with the Russian Ambassador.
The fact that the sessions met with the Ambassador — no problem. In September 2016 every famous Ambassador to Washington had tried, or at least had to try to meet the person close to the Republican candidate, to understand his policies after the election. Such a man was sessions. The meeting itself is not a crime. In an awkward position he put himself, stating during a testimony before a Senate Committee that no one from Russia is not met.
Members of Congress and senators have different views on how Congress should examine these issues (given the ongoing FBI investigation). Option Committee, the special bipartisan Commission composed of respected Republicans and Democrats, or the special Prosecutor. Republicans and Democrats on Capitol hill are trying to settle all the rumors on there, so it is unlikely that it will be known soon.
In any case, regardless of the option selected, the investigation will take time. So, the answers we will get not soon, and the process of investigation can complicate the administration of the trump determine any policy with respect to Russia.
Steven Pifer, an expert American Brookings Institution, diplomat, former US Ambassador to Ukraine.