November 6, 2017

Playing “Good Cop/Bad Cop” As the Main Tool of the USA's Policy Towards Russia

Last week, US President D. Trump expressed readiness to meet with Russian President V. Putin on the sidelines of the 25th informal meeting of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) leaders, which will be held November 10–11 in Vietnam. At this, D. Trump mentioned the situation around the DPRK, Syria and Ukraine as one of the main issues that could be discussed by the parties.

The US President's propose caused another wave of euphoria in the Russian media and expert environment, which for some reason consider it an opportunity to reach a compromise between the USA and Russia over the Ukrainian issue, which allegedly “has already taken back seat in American interests”. An evidence of this is the priority for the United States of the problems associated with the DPRK missile and nuclear program and the armed confrontation in Syria, which seem to be unresolvable without Russia.

Proceeding from the said, Russian experts conclude that there are positive prospects for the resumption of Russian-American relations with the USA's further refusal to maintain sanctions against Russia. In favor of such a conclusion, they mention the first meeting between the Presidents of the United States and Russia, which took place on July 7, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, which was called “constructive” and “excellent” by D. Trump.

 

We can just sympathize with such experts, who obviously express the impatient expectations of the leadership of the Russian Federation, but have long lost any connection with reality. In fact, the United States is not going to make any concessions to Russia, especially at the expense of Ukraine, which remains among Washington's priorities.

As for D. Trump's demonstration of “enthusiasm” after the negotiations with V. Putin and other manifestations of his “positive” attitude towards Russia, this is nothing more than the USA's playing “good cop/bad cop”. At this, while D. Trump is playing the role of the “good cop”, the Congress and the US government are the “bad guys” in such a “team”, and it is they who determines and implements Washington's real policy towards the Russian Federation.

 

In the given context, the anti-Russian steps taken in the United States recently, against the background of D. Trump's statement about the desire to meet V. Putin, were openly demonstrative.

Thus, according to the decision of the US District Court of the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), of October 30, former head of D. Trump's election headquarters — P. Manafort, who was charged with 12 counts, including conspiracy against the USA and money laundering, was subjected to house arrest. In particular, according to the investigation, P. Mananafort's consulting firm has been actively cooperating with Russia for more than ten years on promoting the latter's interests in Ukraine, Georgia, Montenegro and other countries that Russia considers its sphere of influence. The firm also cooperates with Russian criminal business.

Against this background, US law enforcement agencies have announced about their having sufficient evidence of the involvement of six representatives of the Russian government in hacking the computers of the National Committee of the Democratic Party (H. Clinton) and swiping sensitive information during the 2016 election campaign. This has confirmed the report of the American intelligence, which was released in January this year and contained information on Russia's attempts to influence the results of the presidential elections in the United States on Putin's personal instructions.

At the same time, October 31, 2017, the US Department of State and the Department of Treasury announced the introduction of “secondary sanctions” against non-US “players” who work with Russian citizens and companies from the sanctions lists. If nothing else, they may be banned from opening or maintaining bank accounts in the United States. In this way, the USA has actually blocked Russia's ability to compensate for US sanctions by developing trade and economic ties with other countries, including China.

In addition, on October 27, 2017, the United States severed sanctions against 39 Russian organizations and business entities, including the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (GRU), as well as “Rostec”, “Almaz-Antey”, “Kalashnikov”, “Rosoboronexport”, “Izhmash”, “MiC”, “Sukhoi”, “Tupolev” and “Uralvagonzavod” concerns and corporations.

The intransigence of Washington's position on the Ukrainian issue and the latter's being among the main priorities of American foreign policy was confirmed by the US Charge d'Affaires to the OSCE H. Kamian at the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization on November 2. According to him, the United States fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders and will never recognize Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. At this, the United States will maintain sanctions against Russia until it returns full control of the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine.

By the way, there is no hope for an agreement between Russia and the United States on Syria, even without taking into account the Ukrainian issue. November 1, 2017, the United States officially accused Russia of attempting to liquidate the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is investigating the use of such weapons in the Syrian territory. The reason for this was Russia's blocking the United States' draft resolution in the UN Security Council on the continuation of the mandate of the above-mentioned Commission.

The positions of the United States and Russia completely differ on the DPRK too. Thus, the United States is pursuing a consistent policy of pressure on North Korea because of its nuclear-missile program and is the main promoter of strengthening the UN sanctions against it. At the official level, Russia supports such sanctions, but it provides covert support to the DPRK.

All this testifies to the impossibility of reaching any compromises between the USA and Russia, which both D. Trump and V. Putin can't help understanding. In such a situation, the only truly feasible topic for dialogue between the parties can be the discussion of Russia's possible concessions in exchange for mitigating US sanctions against it. In accordance with the US “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, already in January 2018 (on the eve of the presidential election in Russia), US financial intelligence should provide data on Putin's environment's assets in the West. After that, they will be blocked, which will be the beginning of the final end of the Putin regime.