US Political Establishment Prevents Trump From Improving Ties With Russia

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US Political Establishment Prevents Trump From Improving Ties With Russia
Published 15-12-2017, 00:00
The US political establishment and its allies in the military have prevented President Donald Trump since he took office in January from fulfilling his stated goal of improving relations with Russia, US analysts told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In his annual press conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that Trump was unable to fulfill promises that he has made during the election campaign, including those related to Russia, because of limitations within the United States.


Trump has made some efforts to work with Russia on issues of mutual concern including Syria. Putin and Trump met twice — in Germany's Hamburg at the G20 summit in July and in Vietnam's Danang on the sidelines of the APEC summit in November, where they agreed on a joint statement on Syria.

However, attempts seem to get hamstrung by forces that do not want to see Moscow and Washington aligned on anything.

"Mr. Putin’s press conference comment about ‘well-known limitations’ preventing better US-Russia relations reflect his understanding of the US Post-Cold War strategic goals," University of California Emeritus Professor of Law Professor Beau Grosscup told Sputnik on Thursday.

The two main US strategic goals were preventing the rise of a competing power such as Russia, China or a United Europe and maintaining access to or possession of key strategic resources, in particular Middle East oil and Central Asian oil and natural gas, Grosscup explained.

To achieve these interconnected goals, he added, the United States is employing its post-World War II image of presenting other countries like Russia as an "aggressor."

The United States therefore presented an image of Russian activity in Syria and Ukraine that threatened a benevolent United States in order to rally public and private institutional participation in a new Cold War, Grosscup observed.

"In this way, the US National Security State and political establishment can justify the immense military budget, spending on major new weapons systems and its global military presence as it seeks to rally US citizens behind its global agenda," he said.

Since 9/11 the United States had used the War on Terror to justify these foreign policy goals, Grosscup said. Launching a New Cold War against Russia also justifies even greater military spending and the expansion of NATO, he said.


University of Rhode Island Professor of Peace Studies Nicolai Petro told Sputnik that Putin had assessed Trump as wishing to work constructively with Russia but that he had been at least partially blocked in his foreign policy agenda by domestic political enemies within the United States.

"Speaking of his relations with President Trump, Putin reiterated that it is the American people who must evaluate his success or failure, but that his domestic political opponents have not given him the opportunity fully pursue his agenda," Petro said.

Petro also pointed out that Putin in his press conference remained optimistic about the prospects for improving and eventually normalizing US-Russian relations during Trump’s term of office.

"Putin always seeks to put relations with foreign leaders in the broader context of interstate relations. He therefore concluded, rather optimistically that in the final analysis and in the interests of the American and Russian people, [both governments would] finally normalize… relations and will develop, and overcome common threats," he said.

Putin also revealed contradictions in US policies and attitudes towards Russia such as seeking Moscow’s aid to resolve key international problems while at the same time lumping Russia together with alleged "rogue states," Petro observed.

"On North Korea, [Putin] did allow himself to point out the rich irony of the US lumping Russia together with Iran and North Korea, then turning around and asking for Russia’s help to resolve a crisis that, as Putin sees it, the United States itself instigated," he said.

Putin noted the willingness of the United States to cooperate with Russia on settling the North Korean crisis despite listing Moscow alongside North Korea and Iran in its legislation, Petro added.

"The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, adopted by US Congress in July, and signed by President Donald Trump in August, outlines sanctions against the three countries. Putin characterized the fact as being ‘beyond common sense,’" Petro noted.

Putin had emphasized that there remained a lot of areas where the United States and Russia could combine their efforts, and do things much more effectively in the interests of their peoples, Petro concluded.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone call on Thursday discussed collaborating on resolving the dire situation in North Korea, the White House said in a press release.

The Kremlin in a statement emphasized that the phone conversation was held at the US request. The two sides agreed to maintain bilateral contacts.

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