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The USA, Russia and Ukraine

July 19, 2018
<p>The USA, Russia and Ukraine</p>

The Results of D. Trump and V. Putin's Meeting in the Context of Washington's Real Policy

 

As Moscow continues its armed aggression against Ukraine, it is the USA's attitude to Russia that is most important for our country, because it greatly influences the West's ability to pursue a consolidated policy to curb Putin's regime. In this regard, we should point out a number of factors that determine the nature of US-Russian relations and are related to the external interests of the two countries, as well as some internal issues.

For example, Moscow is mostly interested in a change in the USA's attitude to Russia and its foreign policy, including Washington's agreeing to divide spheres of influence in the world, to lift anti-Russian sanctions, to recognize the Crimea's “belonging to Russia”, and to support the Russian approach to resolving the conflict in the Donbas. In exchange for this Russia agrees to deepen cooperation with the United States in the struggle against terrorism (including in Syria), reduction of nuclear weapons, as well as provision of preferences for American business in the Russian market.

Based on these approaches, Russia builds its policy towards the United States on the basis of attempts to prove the need to restore full-fledged relations between the two countries (which would have positive effects on both sides), while simultaneously using various means to influence Washington's position. The main of such means are: military, including nuclear, blackmailing the USA; provoking tension in regions of American interest (in particular around the DPRK and Syria); bribing representatives of US political and business circles and interfering in elections in the country by conducting special information operations by the use of electronic media.

…The USA's strategic goal is to prevent Russia from reviving as a new center of world-class power…

In turn, the USA's strategic goal is to prevent Russia from reviving as a new center of world-class power, which could pose a threat to American domination in the world. In view of this, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the USA has been pursuing a containment policy towards Russia, which includes: support for the enlargement of NATO and the EU; deepening relations with the countries of the former USSR as opposed to Moscow's actions to restore its control over the post-Soviet territories; and since 2014 — introduction and gradual strengthening of sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to the Putin regime's armed aggression against Ukraine and Moscow's moving to a direct confrontation with the West.

At the same time, the USA maintains its interest in cooperation with Russia in a number of spheres, including nuclear disarmament, counter-terrorism and economic relations between the two countries. In some cases, cooperation with Russia in these spheres is becoming more important for the USA than the issue of containment of Russian expansion. In particular, an example was the USA's turning in early 2009 to a policy of “resetting” relations with Russia after a sharp escalation of Moscow's attack on Georgia in August 2008. The reason for such a step was the need to establish a relationship with Russia to counteract the negative effects of the global financial and economic crisis. However, Russia's actions against Ukraine, which were perceived by the United States as a threat to its own interests and a security challenge to the entire Western world, made Washington abandon it.

The probability of such fluctuations in the US course around the strategic line of containing Russia, has gained another boost after the election of D. Trump the President of the United States of America. The reason for this was the peculiarities of his mentality, which, on the one hand, is a certain reflection of the mood of the lumpenized part of the American population, and on the other — is characterized by a high level of ambition and a desire to enter history along with J. Kennedy and R. Reagan. Besides, D. Trump is the owner of a large business with his own interests, including in Russia, and allows the use of not always honest business methods.

This is exactly what Russia was counting on in its hopes for a new “reset” of relations with the United States. At this, the RF could indeed have resorted to bribing D. Trump's environment and interfering with the US elections, as alleged by the US intelligence agencies on the basis of facts available.

…Despite the election promises made by D. Trump about his intentions to re-establish relations between the USA and Russia, as well as further flirting with Moscow, the real policy of the United States on Russian and Ukrainian directions remains unchanged…

However, despite the election promises made by D. Trump about his intentions to re-establish relations between the United States and Russia, as well as further flirting with Moscow, including in a bluntly brutal ways, the real policy of the United States on Russian and Ukrainian directions remains unchanged. Moreover, already in the days of D. Trump, the USA did not just toughened sanctions against Russia, but brought them to a qualitatively new level (in particular, within the framework of the “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, which was adopted in August 2017 and provides for using personal restrictions against people from Putin's environment).

The reason for this is the strong position of the US Congress, which advocates the continuation of tight policies against Russia and constrains D. Trump. The position of the US Parliament on this issue is also supported by most of the country's political forces, intelligence services and, in general, the American society. Under such circumstances, D. Trump's real steps towards Russia will actually mean the collapse of his political career. Moreover, his opponents will get obvious grounds for accusing the President of the country of treason and ties with Russia, and hence his criminal prosecutions.

Given these circumstances, some experts do not rule out the possibility of the United States playing “the good and the bad” when D. Trump expresses readiness to normalize relations with Russia, but the US Congress shows a tough attitude to it. In favor of such a version is the fact of the introduction by the US Congress of new sanctions against Russia after each of D. Trump's meetings with V. Putin, which end to no result because of the Russian President's refusal to make concessions.

An example of this kind of US-Russian relations was also the meeting of the Presidents of the two countries in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. Thus, despite the media assertions about its “historical character” and D. Trump's statements about the beginning of a new era in relations between the United States and Russia, it actually did not have any results, which was acknowledged by V. Putin himself. At this, D. Trump's open flirting with Russia caused an extremely negative reaction in the United States, which made him give up his statements about Russia. In particular, while in Helsinki he, together with Putin, categorically rejected Moscow's interference with the US presidential election, then immediately upon his return to Washington, he acknowledged this fact and the Russian President's personal involvement in it. At the same time, D. Trump gave up the possibility of lifting sanctions from the Russian Federation.

In turn, according to established practice, the US Congress has raised the issue of the preparation of another package of sanctions against Russia. In addition, the Senate of the US Congress is considering a draft resolution condemning Russia's annexation of the Crimea and violations of human rights in the Peninsula. They have also confirmed the decision to allocate 100 million US dollars to Ukraine to buy weapons and military equipment.

American law enforcement agencies have taken their own step to prevent the USA's concessions to Russia. On the eve of D. Trump's meeting with V. Putin, the US Department of Justice announced the indictment in the case conducted by a special prosecutor R. Muller on an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The conclusion contains allegations against Russian citizens about their breaking e-mail and computer networks of the Democratic Party. All of them are employees of the Russian GRU.

…All this testifies to the inability of radical changes in US policy towards Russia, including the achievement by them of any agreements and compromises at the expense of Ukraine…

Taking this into consideration, D. Trump and V. Putin's meeting in no way added to foreign investors' confidence in the Russian market. The moment the negotiations in Helsinki were over, the ruble and shares of Russian government bonds renewed the plunge to the lowest levels in the last month.

 

All this testifies to the inability of radical changes in US policy towards Russia, including the achievement by them of any agreements and compromises at the expense of Ukraine. At the same time, D. Trump's populist actions and statements are used by Russia and its followers in other countries to create a negative information background around Ukraine, and to undermine the Ukrainian society's confidence in continuing support of our state by its western partners and allies.


 

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