The new representative of the trump in Ukraine changes the tone in relations with Russia

When candidate Donald trump attempted to find a common language with Russia during the election campaign of 2016, the Grand bargain between the two countries — a tacit agreement of the USA to Russia’s actions in Ukraine in exchange for help in the fight against Islamic state (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.) — seemed quite a realistic scenario provided that trump will become President. Then, no one expected that the United States will take a tougher stance in the Ukrainian issue and give Syria to Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, that’s now, apparently, happening. And this is more a coincidence than part of a coherent strategy.

When the Secretary of state, USA Rex Tillerson (Rex Tillerson) has chosen Kurt Volker (Kurt Volker) as the new US special envoy to Ukraine, it sent a signal about the toughening of the position of America in relation to the actions of Russia in this country. An old friend of one of the staunchest anti-Russian hawks Senator John McCain (John McCain), Walker went to the East of Ukraine and stated the position that would be extremely inconvenient for the Kremlin, and for its longstanding partners in the negotiations on the Ukrainian crisis — Germany and France.

He said that in contrast to the position of the Obama administration, the current administration does not exclude the possibility to provide weapons to Ukraine — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tried to achieve this. According to Volcker, the decision is still pending, however, the decision is not “will encourage Russia to take such steps, she would not now, and it will not be able to change the balance of forces.” Meanwhile, this weapon will allow Ukraine to defend itself from Russian aggression. “Russia claims that it does not and does not, therefore, if it’s true, no one and no risk”.

Walker also sided with Ukraine in several important controversial points: that only Russia hampers the settlement of the conflict in accordance with the Minsk agreements, it must withdraw its troops before in the East of Ukraine will be created “a base for organization management”, and that Pro-Russian militias to block supplies to Eastern Ukraine from other parts of the country. As have already seen, the European negotiators and Victoria Nuland (Victoria Nuland), the predecessor of Volcker to the post of special representative of the USA in Ukraine — it’s not as easy as it seems.

Ukraine was not able to make laws regarding the conduct of elections in the separatist-held areas, and key political forces in the country demand that control over the Eastern border of Ukraine were returned to the government. In addition, it is the Ukrainian nationalists — with the forced support of the government broke off economic ties with the separatist regions.

Volker is an experienced diplomat, and it highlighted a sharp stance against Russia is not an accident or error: so in understanding the Volcker should look like the new American policy of “strengthening cooperation”. The idea, obviously, is a complete revision of the Minsk agreement, thus, to force Russia to comply with the requirements of the Ukrainian government, as well as in the use of arms of Ukraine in order to raise for Russia the price further participation in the conflict.

Meanwhile in Syria, the administration is trump trying to negotiate with Russia. The position of the Central intelligence Agency, promoted by its Director Mike Pompeo, is to resist the growing influence of Russia in Syria and the formation of the axis of Russia-Iran. But trump, apparently, does not agree with this position: he was ordered to turn the CIA program to provide weapons to Syrian rebels fighting against Russian-backed Syrian regime, making the opposite of what Walker is trying to do in Ukraine.

Trump’s policy in Syria is a continuation of the Syrian policy of Obama: in essence, the United States allow Russia to deal with this issue. Meanwhile, Russia is publicly stating its commitment to the unity of Syria, in fact, trying to divide the country into zones controlled by the regime, and areas controlled by the rebels, effectively freezing the conflict — exactly the same as Minsk froze the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. United States, which has long fought to expand territory held by the rebels, due to the “Islamic state”, apparently happy to give this issue at the mercy of Russia.

If the President of Russia Vladimir Putin intervened in the Syrian conflict to strengthen its position in the negotiations on Ukraine — as many, including me, at the time believed — he got what he wanted. But the fact that he now receives from the United States, will bring him even more good — and will harm the strategic interests of the United States.

If the United States gives weapons to Ukraine, the Kremlin said that the war in the East of Ukraine — is actually an indirect conflict with the US who are trying to split the Slavic community that will allow Putin to secure the powerful support ahead of presidential elections in 2018. Although this will raise the price of further aid to the separatists, it will also strengthen their political position and may force Russia to recognize East of the puppet “people’s Republic”, which will lead to a complete failure of the Minsk agreement and a new bloody conflict, in which Ukraine would not be able to win. Putin put up with the Minsk process, believing that time is on his side, but a new round of US intervention could force him to act decisively.

Meanwhile concessions to the United States in Syria has led to the fact that in the middle East, Russia has become a player equal to America. Now local leaders have to deal with two powers. Turkey’s decision to buy Russian anti-aircraft missile system s-400, which Russia has demonstrated in the Syrian conflict has become one of the results of such a policy.

The impression is that trump wants to take a more active part in the Affairs of the former Soviet Republic, where she has almost no economic or geopolitical interests than the Affairs of the Muslim world where Russia’s influence continues to grow. Tough stance towards Russia and Ukraine, and Syria would be more consistent strategy — that approach could insist McCain. The relatively mild attitude towards Russia and Ukraine, and in Syria, characterized by occasional demonstrations of discontent, taking the form of economic sanctions — in the spirit of Obama, too, could be a consistent strategy, built on the principle of “do no harm”. However, the current US policy has almost no strategic sense.

This is most likely due to the fact that for certain foreign policy steps the U.S. has no unified strategy. Tillerson, who, according to some reports, disappointed with communication with the White house trump, trying to act in accordance with the models of McCain and Obama at the same time — perhaps because in his team there are representatives of both camps, able to convincingly present their arguments to the beginner in the diplomatic sphere. The CIA has plenty of anti-Russian hawks, but trump doesn’t trust the intelligence community. The generals, who heads the Syrian campaign, focused on the fight against “Islamic state”, not that ultimately to resolve the conflict in a political way, and trump is ready to support them, because he promised to defeat ISIS, not to restore the Syrian government.

Now the U.S. is like a giant aircraft carrier, which lost control. Putin did not need to try to outrun him: he just needs to get around, and in this sense he has become a consummate master.