Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Richard Sakwa — Putin and Trump Establish Bilateral Channel to Move Forward

Richard Sakwa is one of the few Russian experts, along with Stephen F. Cohen, not affected by Russophobia. Russophobes denigrate these experts being Russophiles. The actual conflict is not so much between Russophobes and Russophiles, although it is present, but between foreign policy idealists — liberal interventionists and neoconservatives — and foreign policy realists like Sakwa and Cohen. The difference is between equating American leadership and American exceptionalism with US global hegemony and viewing international relations through the prism of pragmatism and promoting US national interests in a multipolar world.
A diplomatic triumph for Russia was viewed as a defeat for Washington – so much for the liberal international order’s vaunted win-win dynamic. For the knavish alliance of liberal internationalists and neo-conservative globalists, this would represent a fundamental challenge to US primacy and its universal ‘leadership’, and could never be allowed. It is clear that Trump has decided otherwise, and quite sensibly Russia and the US are begin to cooperate in Syria to put an end to the suffering of that tragic nation.…
All post-Cold War American leaders from George H. W. Bush to Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have asserted a triumphal reading of American victory in the Cold War, accompanied by the assertion of American leadership in a unipolar world order. This of course has encountered the resistance of Russia, and increasingly also from Beijing (although China’s relationship to the end of the Cold War is rather different and is seen through a different prism). The liberal internationalists and neoconservatives since the 1990s have allied to assert America’s position as the ‘indispensable’ nation, an ideology of exceptionalism to which all other great powers have taken exception, especially since it means that by definition they became the subjects of various soft containment strategies to ensure that they do not challenge American supremacy....
I assess the Trump-Putin meeting even more positively than Sakwa. The two men came to an understanding, which is the most important outcome. The reports emphasize "good chemistry," but coming to an understanding is more significant. Trump and Putin acknowledged political difficulties in their way on both side, including a lot of distrust and a history of adversarial relationship extending back at least to the Bolshevik commandeering of the Russian Revolution. But they agreed to work together to surmount those difficulties as best they could in view of the opposition they face. As a result, they can say what the need to for domestic politics without endangering their personal relationship and communications. This channel at the highest level of government is a very big deal, and it is a win-win, which is why it enrages the zero-sum cohort.

Valdai Discussion Club
Putin and Trump Establish Bilateral Channel to Move Forward
Richard Sakwa | Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent

See also

US foreign policy realism without the Russophobia or Russophilia. It's pro-American but cautions against doing stupid stuff that undermines genuine US national interests in the foolhardy pursuit of nationalistic or globalist unrealistic aspirations.

The Hill— Opinion
Time for the U.S. to modernize its approach to Russia
James Durso | Opinion Contributor


GLH said...

The Trump Putin meeting must have scared the press because since the meeting the evening news is back up to over ten minutes of denigrating Trump. That is about as much BS as they spouted before the election.

Kaivey said...

At the begging if he meeting Putin didn't look friendly, just curt. A journalist in the Guardian wrote a whole interview about how Trump sat perched on his sit while Putin, with 17 years experience in politics, sat back relaxed in his chair. The journalists said Trump gave a too long handshake which Putin found uncomfortable. This report went on like this as if the meeting between Trump and Putin was a disaster for the inexperienced Trump who the steely Putin made mince meet of. A short video footage of Putin and Trump introducing each other did show Putin giving minimum eye contact and not smiling much, and so I was led to believe this is how the meeting went on.

But later on in the Guardian another journalist gave a completely different account saying how the two got along so well that it went on for over two hours, and there was a picture of them both smiling.