Obama’s Newest Russian Sanctions
By James Baxley
President Barack Obama’s administration’s newly imposed sanctions on Russia [on Thursday] for Russia’s alleged and unprecedented interference in the United States 2016 presidential election, mistreatment of U.S. diplomats, and cyber theft looks as if he is making it hard for Donald Trump to do any dealings with the Kremlin after Obama’s term is over.
|44th President of the United States, Barack Obama|
In light of the Obama administration’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he wouldn’t expel any diplomats from the U.S. from Russia in retaliation, saying that he’d wait to take his cues “from the policy pursued by the administration of D. Trump.”
Putin continues, “We will not create problems for American diplomats, we will not expel anyone,” he continued in a statement, adding that Russia “reserves the right to retaliate.” Putin has said in the [most recent past] that he welcomed the proposal from Trump for a “full-scale resumption” of U.S.-Russia ties.
A “bromance” between Putin and Trump certainly exists, but not on the level of a Ben Affleck and Matt Damon [perhaps the pioneering “bromance” in showbiz history according to the Daily Press’ Mitsu Yasukawa] or a George Clooney and Brad Pitt-style “bromance.” This mutually beneficial “bromance” run amuck between a Russian dictator and an American demagogue could ultimately harm citizens of Russia, the US, and citizens other states.
In Trump’s April foreign policy speech in Washington, Trump called for ending “this horrible cycle of hostility” between the two nations [Russia and the U.S.]. He goes on to state, “our goal is peace and prosperity, not war and destruction.”
|45th President of the United States, Donald Trump|
It looks as if Trump wants a fresh start for his presidency and doesn’t want to inherit the problems of the outgoing administration. This isn’t uncommon for an incoming administration though: Bill Clinton tried to have a fresh start with Boris Yeltsin. Both George W. Bush and President Barack Obama tried a “reset” with the Kremlin.
The “resets” generally don’t last for long. The U.S. generally believes that Russia and the Kremlin wants to limit the U.S.’s power; such was the case with the Munich Security Conference speech in 2007.
The Munich Security Conference gave Putin a platform to denounce the U.S.-led international order for snubbing Russia in which he demanded that Russia be recognized as a major power with a sphere of influence in the Soviet Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Putin continues with being recognized on par with the United States.
The same holds true for former-Russian President Dimitri Medvedev’s proposed European Security Treaty. The European Security Treaty would have given Russia a greater say in European affairs which would eliminate the need for NATO. Needless to say, the U.S. objected to this.
What “resets” would Trump be seeking? Trump would use this partnership with Russia as a way to help Trump fulfill his campaign promises. He would ask Russia to use its military assets to help fight ISIS and other terrorists in Syria. He may also seek Russia’s assistance in renegotiating Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.
Also Read: The Breakdown of Netanyahu and the Israeli State
What would Putin be seeking in return for these? The first thing that Putin would be looking at is the end to all sanctions. He would most likely want to end the new military deployments to the eastern portions of NATO territory, to stop the end of NATO’s expansion, and expect the dismantlement of the missile defense installations in Poland and Romania as well as the Aegis deployments to Europe.
Finally, Moscow would expect a free hand in Syria and an acceptance of Bashar al Assad as the country’s leader into the foreseeable future.
The demands from both the U.S. and the Kremlin are just speculation. Nobody knows what Trump and Putin will expect from each other. These demands could fail just like the demands has for past administrations.
Trump’s worldview, according to the Washington Post has been “formed through the lens of commerce rather than the think tanks, government deliberations and international diplomatic conferences that typically shape the foreign policy positions of presidential candidates.”