On Wednesday, President Donald trump, took in the oval office of the Russian Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. It happened a few hours after trump dismissed the FBI Director, who led the investigation into his possible collusion with the Russians. Thus, trump broke with established practice, at the urging of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A friendly visit to the White house (photos of the President, to communicate with Lavrov and with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak was published by the Russian Ministry of foreign Affairs, because American press was not allowed to cover this meeting) was the result of a request of Putin, which he outlined during a recent phone conversation with trump in the White house told me Wednesday. “He decided to take it because requested by Putin, said on the meeting of Lavrov and trump White house spokesman. Putin specifically asked about the visit during their last conversation.”
This Lavrov’s visit to the White house became the first in 2013. Prior to this, the Obama administration has for several years refused to grant him an audience in the oval office, as I was informed two former high-ranking employee of the White house. “Russian for several years begged us to do it, — said one of them. They constantly insisted on meeting, and we always told them no.”
Pictures of trump, warmly laying a hand on his shoulder Lavrov, as well as the official meeting report, which States that trump “stressed his desire to improve relations between the United States and Russia,” appeared in the very tense from political point of view, the time for trump, who has been sharply criticized by both parties for the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey. On Wednesday morning before meeting with Lavrov trump even joked about the political difficulties of the receiving party. Standing next to U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson, he stated that he heard nothing about the dismissal of Komi.
In other words, Lavrov on Wednesday did what always wanted to do: he made fun of the United States of America, when it was taken in the oval office of the President.
While in the post-cold war period the post of Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia longer than all the rest, Lavrov and Putin in 2004, is focused for achieving a single goal: to make Russia great. And if he can do it at the expense and to the detriment of America, the better. So, for Lavrov and Putin it was more than strange scene in the Washington political theater, where they played the silent role. It was a moment of rehabilitation and revenge, proof that their location to the Trump after years of tension with two American presidents can still bring dividends.
In some key respects it has become a Deposit for a reset with Russia, which trump promised during his election campaign. Or at least that the full value the first step towards the resumption of relations and a possible big deal with Putin, which trump never refused, although to do this kind of business has become very difficult due to the political furor in Washington caused by the investigation activities of the team of trump and Russia, which was led by Komi. “In fact, the President and the Secretary of state said that relations have sunk to a new low, and that it is important to raise them with this zero mark, and for that we need to talk, told me about the “warm” meeting with Russian trump Michael Anton (Anton Michael) managing strategic communications for the national security Council. — Maybe we will witness some kind of cooperation in Syria. A semblance of cooperation in Ukraine. Of course, if we don’t have to talk, no hope for progress will not.”
“The fact of the meeting of Lavrov and made her photos is an important demonstration showing the world and the Russian people that Russia is back, that isolation have failed, regardless of what they agreed, and agreed, if at all,” said Alexander Vershbow (Alexander Vershbow), which President George Bush was Ambassador to Russia, while President Barack Obama held a high position in NATO, focusing on Russian Affairs.
Like the former Secretary of state and Republican Grand foreign policy Henry Kissinger, whose trump on Wednesday was suddenly taken in the oval office, Sergei Lavrov, in the pragmatic world of international politics tries to stand in the way of the realist. He has long been preaching the idea that barging into their Affairs, American presidents, such as Bush and Obama should renounce its appearance noble, but in practice completely naive ploys type of democracy promotion in the middle East, and focus on more practical and challenging goals, such as fighting Islamic jihadism and terrorism, and the new deals between the great powers spheres of influence in Europe.
In many respects it is very similar to tranism. Perhaps for understanding why the meeting with Lavrov trump has become such a major victory for Russia, it is even more important than his ideology of realpolitik. Lavrov considers himself an absolute pragmatist, as he told me in 2013 during an interview for Foreign Policy magazine, and its purpose is to promote the interests of the Russian state as possible. Lavrov has long been championed such things as the fight against terrorism, presenting it as the basis for joint work with the new President, who does not suffer sentimentality.
In recent years I have repeatedly and in detail was questioned by American officials about Lavrov. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed that the Russian foreign Minister a) flexible ideologically nationalist who plays with the attacks on America, when it suits his purposes, but when necessary with no less pleasure praises of people like trump, because b) it is of great value to Putin as promoter of world level and as a provider of “fake news” is not inferior to the Trump.
That’s what told me in 2013, Republican John Negroponte (John Negroponte), who worked as an American representative to the UN at that time, when Lavrov was Russia, when Bush headed the national intelligence service States: “he always had two constant goals: to veto, when it came to the glory of Russia, and to the extent possible, to humiliate the Americans.”
However, said Negroponte, his speeches against America was a tactic, but not an end in itself. “If he has moral principles, my Geiger counter did not record them — he told me. His morality is the Russian state”. About the same thing I heard Wednesday from former senior leaders from the Obama administration, who told me about his recent meetings with Lavrov.
On a personal level American diplomats dislike all the polls Lavrov. “He’s a complete bastard”, — said the employee of the Bush administration, in an interview for Foreign Policy. But the official opinion of Obama, which he said on Wednesday: “He’s a disgusting son of a bitch. He constantly scolds and scares others, it is bad and full of sarcasm. His job was to curse, vilify and intimidate us and Secretary of state Kerry. He constantly ensured that we lost the Russian point of view. It was not about how to defeat America. The fact that Russia can not win, if she will have to make at least some compromises”.
It was an incredible and amazing moments. Not so former high-ranking officials speak of the Ministers of foreign Affairs from other countries, even from those with whom the US has a bad attitude.
Many of these officials believe that such behavior gives Lavrov (and it on Wednesday at a press conference strongly praised trump, calling him a business man who wants to make deals) advantages in the negotiations with trump, especially at this time when very little clarity in his foreign policy, except for the fact that he wants to conclude transactions that fail on other fronts.
“I don’t think it’s the same antagonist, with suspicion and hostility related to the West, and Putin — said to me by another former employee of the Obama administration, participated in many meetings with Lavrov. He believes at least tactical cooperation in the broader context of strategic-alignment. I think he is really looking for opportunities. I also think that he plays up to his bosses. As for the fact that he’s sarcastic and unpleasant, this is partly due to his character, and partly because, in his opinion, want to hear Putin and the powers that be”.
Some Russian policy experts with whom I spoke on Wednesday, concerned that trump allows Lavrov, and with it Putin to dictate the terms of the Russian-American agreements on key issues such as Ukraine and Syria.
In political terms, trump tied hand and foot, at least temporarily, and can not publicly state about the reconciliation with Russia, which he had hoped. But it does mean that no one here really knows what his new policy against Moscow.
“There is no policy in relation to Russia we have,” sharply said a professional expert.
The resignation of the first trump adviser for national security Michael Flynn, discredited friendship with Russia, and the subsequent appointment of a very reputable, McMaster occurred almost three months ago. But those who are closely watching this issue, saying that trump gives almost no explanation about his position in relation to Russia, unless you count the obscure representations that the sharp reversal in the direction of Putin is not, and the fact that while there was no important meeting of the heads of the national security Council and Deputy for policy in relation to Russia. At the meeting, trump and Lavrov attended and Tillerson, and McMaster.
“We all hoped that supervision by Mature people will make foreign policy more predictable and rational, said one authoritative expert on Russia. We thought that because of all this furor, he will be restrained and will not make stupid decisions about policy toward Russia. But look at his insane tweets and the Komi Republic. Things can change at any moment.”
But if trump has no clear policy toward Russia, that Putin definitely has a clear policy in relation to the United States, according to these experts. Its priorities include the desire to persuade trump to agree to Putin’s plan of a settlement to end the prolonged civil war in Syria, causing Russia and its vassal the Assad regime will retain control at least over a significant part of Syrian territory. As for Ukraine, on Capitol hill, no one doesn’t want to talk about the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea, so Putin in this matter wants to stall.
Inside still haven’t formed completely trump the administration of the very few leaders who were appointed to be responsible for relations with Russia. For many years engaged in Russia, Fiona hill (Fiona Hill), who wrote a book full of criticism of Putin, was appointed senior Director of the national security Council in this region. But yet the state Department assistant Secretary of state who deals with these issues. For talks on Syria that are held under the leadership of Russia in Astana, the Kazakh capital, the United States sent an observer, not a participant. Career diplomat Tom Shannon (Tom Shannon), who is the Undersecretary of state for political Affairs, has instructed to solve a bilateral problem; but today, few hopes that this process can bring significant results — as in the days of the Obama administration.
Team trump discussed the issue of whether to appoint a special American representative for direct talks with Moscow on Ukraine, but one of the assistants to the President said that the meeting on Wednesday, trump has not raised the proposal, but in the report, the White house says that the President “raised the issue of Ukraine and stressed the administration’s commitment to continue efforts to resolve the conflict.”
All this testifies to the following. If currently there is an American policy towards Russia, it comes from the President himself, and not from the Executive branch. So on Wednesday meeting becomes even more important. Soon trump may be held the first meeting with Putin face to face, and it will happen in July during the meeting of Big twenty.
As I said one expert on Russia, trump and Putin are big on the promotion of an alternate reality. But do they try to promote each other? How can you get along with your partner and build a working relationship with him, asked the specialist if their “commitment to truth is so weak?”