After Helsinki: US toughens policy toward Russia

Since July 16, when Donald trump, and Vladimir Putin spoke to reporters about his “candid conversation” and “exciting offers”, it’s only been 10 days, but relations between the two countries during this time have undergone significant changes. To Russia is realized, the United States filed a number of important signals.

To resolve all doubts about the United States ‘ position on the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the U.S. state Department published a “Crimean Declaration” is one of the toughest of documents with the assessment of the actions of Moscow against Kiev that perpetuate the idea that Washington will never recognize the occupation as he did not recognize the Soviet Union occupation of the Baltic States.

Almost immediately after the words of Donald trump on the invitation of Vladimir Putin in Washington, the US presidential Advisor for national security John Bolton announced that this year such a visit is unrealistic.

In Congress have announced several bills strengthening sanctions against Russia for already committed acts of aggression and warning of its possible interference in the elections, which might happen. Among proposed measures is a ban on working with Russian public debt, the freezing of assets of state banks and other violent measures.

In this situation experts said has clearly manifested the phenomenon: as soon as Donald trump shows excessive softness in relation to Putin, the rest of the power the US compensates its effect to their opposition. What it may lead?

John Herbst: In Moscow already had to notice that it works against them

The Director of the program of studying of Eurasia at the Atlantic Council in Washington John Herbst in an interview with the Russian service “voice of America” reminds us that the different approach to Russia in Washington has been going on for some time: “”We are seeing since, as trump came to the White House. Several times he demonstrated a desire to reduce opposition to the provocative policy of the Kremlin, which in turn provoked the reaction in Congress and rejection of such actions by members of his own administration. And, as a result, US policy toward the Kremlin has only hardened.”

“For example, in late January of 2017 Advisor to trump, Kellyann Conway said on Fox News about a possible revision of the sanctions policy. This was followed by the statements of the Republicans in Congress, who said that this is a bad idea. This eventually led to the adoption in the summer of 2017, “the Law on counteraction to enemies of America by sanctions (CAATSA). The same thing happened with this year’s list of sanctioned Russians: the first list was published in January, it looked pointless, and probably opened champagne for the occasion. Then in April there was another list that really has hit the Russian elite,” says John Herbst.

The expert notes that different signals from the USA can give Russian authorities some hope, but it is empty: “Indeed, from Washington to Moscow are mixed signals, and it generates there the illusion that relationships can change for the better without any revision of the Russian aggressive policy. But if they’re not completely stupid, it should be noted that all the time in the end it works against them. And I think they really see it, it is no wonder that Putin aide for international Affairs Yuri Ushakov said yesterday that it is impossible to go to Washington DC with the current level of relations.”

John Herbst suggests that the new attempt to interfere in elections in the United States, Russia either does not do or make it on a much smaller scale: “I think about two and a half years ago, Putin personally took the decision to attempt to influence the U.S. elections against the advice of Sergey Ivanov (at that time head of the presidential administration of Russia – G. D.), who warned that doing this is not necessary, and that the answer will be tough – what we are now witnessing. I think that now Russia will be much more cautious in terms of interference in our elections, and the volume of this interference will be lower, although I could be wrong”.

The expert of the Atlantic Council believes that Vladimir Putin will have to accept the fact that embroil US with Europe, he will not succeed, and someday will have to negotiate: “the Meeting trump and Juncker is bad news for the Kremlin because Putin would like us to have a complicated relationship with Europe and with our allies. And he himself still need the development of relations with the United States because he wants the lifting of sanctions”.

Richard Weitz: countering the defense component of the Russia has increased

A military expert at the Hudson Institute Richard Weitz said in an interview with the Russian service “voice of America” that now against Russia is stronger than is reflected in the military budget of the United States: “in addition to talks trump and cadets, “the Crimean Declaration” and the announcement of Bolton that Putin’s visit will not take place, I would have said the adoption of the Bill on the defense budget for the year 2019, in which an entire page dedicated to the opposition of Russia. Indeed, after the summit in Helsinki have been several reciprocal action – in particular, the US military announced that they would not cooperate with the Russian military, which caused a disappointed statement from the Russian foreign Ministry and the Ministry of defense.”

Richard Weitz agrees with the statement by Donald trump the fact that when Russia received a harsh response from the United States: “Indeed, it can be stated that during the presidency of trump’s policy towards Russia is actually tightened, and the US military presence in Europe. We can argue about whether this initiative of the trump or members of his administration, but the fact remains that the adopted new sanctions, perhaps, the toughest for all time.”

The expert sees the approach of the Congress to the measures against Russia inevitable dualism: “We see that Congress wants stronger to punish Russia for its actions in the past and may in the future, but at the same time it has concerns that further sanctions could hit the U.S. energy sector, and also to supply other countries before a very tough choice between the US or Russia, they don’t want to do. So the Congress, on the one hand, strengthen the sanctions, and on the other – removes the requirement to India and other countries not to buy Russian weapons.”

Richard RIC a positive attitude to ensure against rigid opposition to continue to talk about avoiding direct conflict: “Although the relationship is very damaged, but the military conflict is still there. And despite the fact that the old strategic contracts are in stale state, in General, agreement was reached to continue the negotiations on strategic stability. The conversation is like on the extension of the start Treaty, and so on dealing with the dispute under the Treaty on intermediate and shorter-range missiles. I do not expect a breakthrough in settling differences on strategic contracts, but at least in the field of collision avoidance can be achieved success. So be it: collision will be avoided with virtually no cooperation in other areas.”