Analysts: Only meeting between Putin and Trump not enough to improve relations
21 April 2018. PenzaNews. Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for a meeting with his US counterpart Donald Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
At the same time, Russia hopes that US President Donald Tramp concretizes his proposal on the visit of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Washington, he added.
“We proceed from the fact that the US president in a telephone conversation – this has already become known, there is no secret – he sent such an invitation, said that he would be happy to see in the White House, then he would be happy to meet as part of the return visit. And he returned to this topic a couple of times, so we of course let our American colleagues know that we do not want to be intrusive, but we do not want to be impolite, and that given that President Trump has made such a proposal, we proceed from the fact that he concretizes it,” Sergey Lavrov said.
Earlier the White House representatives said that they continue to work out the possibility for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meeting, despite the significantly complicated relations between Moscow and Washington, as well as another round of anti-Russian sanctions.
“As the President said, we want good relations with Russia, but it will depend on some actions of the Russians. Meanwhile, the President will continue to take a tough stance on Russia, until we see the implementation of these changes. We will continue to work on what you need to do to this meeting with Vladimir Putin took place at some point,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders assured.
Meanwhile, the Federation Council of Russia urged US officials to refuse the distribution of false information until the meeting of the two leaders, in order not to aggravate an already difficult situation.
“Alas, the US President Donald Trump joined those spreading fake news. We can feel the influence of his new team. [...] In this regard, I suggest that our overseas opponents declare the so-called ‘day of silence’ for the period remaining until the meeting, making a breather in the information war. Evidently, this applies exclusively to officials, the media is quite another matter,” said Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Federation Council committee on defense and security.
Analyzing the likelihood of a personal meeting between the heads of Russia and the United States, Hugh Gusterson, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University, president of the American Ethnological Society, stressed that it is very hard to predict anything when it comes to Donald Trump.
“His advisers are surely telling him that relations between Russia and the US are so unstable that a meeting is too risky. They are also warning him that it would be dangerous for him politically to be seen with Putin when there is a widespread perception in the US that he is in some way indebted to or compromised by President Putin. But Trump often ignores advice,” the expert told PenzaNews.
From his point of view, the results of a potential meeting will not be of great importance for the further development of relations, even if such negotiations take place.
“Given the animosity toward Russia right now throughout the US national security state, it is hard to imagine that a meeting between a weakened US President and his Russian counterpart will do much to improve the situation,” Hugh Gusterson said stressing that relations between the US and Russia are the worst they have been in a long time.
A similar opinion was expressed by Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow at Brookings University and an author of several publications for the National Interest magazine, who also drew attention to the significant cooling of bilateral relations.
“Relations between Moscow and Washington are at their worst since the early 1980s; they are also somewhat dangerous in military terms,” the analyst explained.
At the same time, he positively assessed the prospect of a meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States.
“The meetings Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have already had [within the G20 and APEC summits] have been somewhat useful in preventing things from getting even worse,” Michael O’Hanlon reminded.
“But simple conversation can't paper over the profound issues or differences in policy right now, so any summit would have to be accompanied by limited expectations unless a big new idea were to be discussed that could somehow mitigate tensions. For example, this idea could be about the creation of a new east European security order of the type I wrote about in my book Beyond NATO: A New Security Architecture for Eastern Europe,” the expert explained.
In turn, Roberto Castaldi, Research Director of International Centre for European and global governance, Director of the Research Centre on Multi-Level Integration and Governance Processes at eCampus University, doubted the soon emergence of favorable conditions for the summit of Russian and American leaders.
“I don’t think the meeting between Trump and Putin will take place soon, considering the tensions in Syria. The situation is very dangerous and fragile,” the analyst said.
In his opinion, in modern conditions, the foreign policy of the United States is more focused on the Asia-Pacific region than it is aimed at developing cooperation with Russia.
“The global challenge for hegemony is between the US and China. Russia is a military power, but its economy is too weak to compete for global leadership. This has structurally shifted the American strategic focus towards the Pacific,” Roberto Castaldi explained.
Meanwhile, Evgeniya Voyko, Associate Professor of the department of political science at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, expressed the opposite opinion, stressing that we cannot rule out the possibility of the two leaders’ negotiations.
“In addition, we should remember that this will not be the first meeting of the two leaders – they already had the opportunity to communicate at the summits. At the same time, I am skeptical about the possible positive outcome of potential negotiations: first of all, because it is impossible to resolve any global issues in such a narrow format,” the expert said.
From her point of view, both countries have an established opinion on certain issues that neither side will change after a one-time meeting, albeit at the level of the presidents.
“There is a position of Washington in relation to the Russian Federation and its vision of the situation around Ukraine and the Crimea. There is a position of Moscow that is ready for cooperation, but will not compromise its own interests. The meeting of the two countries’ presidents can take place, but what will it lead to? Will this be a signal, including for Europeans, that it is necessary to reach an agreement with Russia? I think not. They have quite unequivocal views on this matter,” Evgeniya Voyko said.
At the same time, Ilgar Velizade, Head of the Baku-based South Caucasus Club of Political Scientists, expressed confidence that the complicated relations between Russia and the United States lay a negative impact on the entire global political agenda.
“Current relations between Russia and the West can be described as Cold War-2 or Global Hybrid War-1. In both cases, we are talking about serious destructive processes destabilizing the entire international agenda,” the expert said.
In his view, the potential meeting of the two leaders can somewhat ease the tension between Moscow and Washington, but one cannot definitely speak about the positive outcome of the talks.
“According to the experience of the cold war, such meetings always or in most cases led to the thaw in relations between superpowers. Will there be the thaw this time, and what kind of the thaw it will be, time will tell,” Ilgar Velizade concluded.