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Sunday, February 18, 2018

The trump factor will affect the negotiations Kerry with Putin


The visit to Moscow, John Kerry is both urgent, and routine nature. After the Russian military operation in Syria to look for opportunities to consolidate the truce and coordinated action against ISIS – among other things, in the remaining eight months, the Obama administration wants to show that Democrats know how to negotiate with Putin is not worse than trump.

After Crimea and the imposition of us sanctions John Kerry became the chief American negotiator with Russia, the contacts of the two presidents are rare and transient in nature, and Vice President Biden running Ukraine.

“In the Kremlin will be talking about real, practical things, and from a purely pragmatic positions”

All this time Kerry meets with Lavrov on neutral territory, generally European – number of meetings already difficult to account for. And since last may, after a visit to Moscow, Secretary of state acts as a partner in negotiations of President Putin on Thursday held their third meeting for the year.

This is an extensive, hours-long negotiations, which in fact can be equated to the summit – both because of the special role of Kerry (the former presidential candidate of the Democrats, who lost the 2004 elections for Bush), and because of the extremely tense situation in Russian-American relations.

It should be noted that Lavrov meets with Barack Obama – and this is not only the desire of Moscow to emphasize U.S. interest in negotiations with the first face for which the Secretary of state have to travel to Moscow, but also with the special role of Kerry, which is in negotiations with Putin much more than just a representative of Obama.

What will be discussed at the meeting on 24 March – given that in such negotiations, except that the probe position to each other, talk about real, practical things, and from a purely pragmatic position, not in the tone and theme of official public statements and propaganda rhetoric?

The Americans asked for the meeting immediately after the announcement of the end of the Russian operation in Syria, that is a little over a week ago – but most likely a preliminary agreement about it was reached by the end of February, when Putin and Obama made a ceasefire agreement in Syria. And it is clear that Syria will be the focus of talks Kerry-Putin – all other topics, including Ukraine and North Korea (against her because the nuclear program is entered, with the consent of Russia, tough sanctions the UN), will be discussed afterwards.

And this despite the fact that the struggle for Ukraine continues to be the main point of the Russian-American confrontation – but on this front have already reached a truce, both military and geopolitical. And talk about important things for the Ukrainian issue, in fact, meaningless – Washington will not abandon support of Kiev and of plans atlantizatsii, although it acknowledges that this should be done slowly and carefully. And temporary fixation of the status quo in the interests of both Moscow and Washington.

Moscow believes that Kiev authorities in any case will bring the case to a new time of troubles – during which open new Windows of opportunity for the reformation of Ukraine in General and its spread from the West to Russia. States now are categorically not interested in any aggravation of the situation in the Donbas region in particular and Ukraine in General – they need to somehow stabilize the Kiev government, preferably without early elections. The fact that the Donbass will not return under the power of Kiev in Washington are well aware – and would be very happy to commit his legal separation from Ukraine, and even better to join Russia. This would “collect” the rest of Ukraine and formally continuing to speak for the “restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, to proceed in relations with Russia in postukraine era.

But Moscow categorically not going to this, have to wrestle over how to turn the Minsk agreement so that both the Kiev authorities not to take over, and the status quo in the Donbass with Russia to fix, and the European revolt against sanctions to soften. So Kerry will be traded on the Ukrainian question was about it – as Moscow and Washington to find a formula that allows to fix the current situation.

Putin, of course, formally require the stronger Washington to push Kiev to fulfill Minsk agreements – but we and the Americans understand that this will not happen. It is necessary to invent such a diplomatic formula that would allow to say that the agreement is alive, and it must be performed – which will allow the Americans without losing face to allow the Europeans to ease sanctions against Russia. This permission is Kerry, and agreeing to close their eyes to the actual separation of Donbas and will sell Putin as a major American concessions in return hoping to get from Moscow concessions on the Syrian front.

No, directly the question to be not – Americans have learned (although did not understand the reasons) that the Russians do not go to the exchanges. The reason we have few of the disadvantages of the proposed combinations, distrust of commitment “partner”, and, most importantly, the inability to refuse a valid national interests (in this case – to Ukraine and the Middle East).

Besides the fact that the us serves as their concessions, in fact is not the Donbass and so separated, and to keep Europeans the USA is still not going to. If not this summer, then at the end of the year, European authorities will be forced to make substantial easing of sanctions – and will deliver to Washington this issue.

In addition, at the end of the year in the States will have two presidents – outgoing Obama and elect someone. It’s one thing if this someone will be Clinton, which will demonstrate its rigidity in relation to Russia (though, to a certain extent), and quite another when preparing for the move to the White house will trump.

Trump is unpredictable and though his compliments to Putin are mostly of a propaganda nature, as part of the campaign, its strategy towards Russia can have a significant impact on the entire complex of U.S.-Russian relations. Yet sociologists give Clinton an advantage over trump – but antitrombina tantrum of the absolute majority of the American establishment shows how much is actually assess the chances of a billionaire.

Moreover, the factor of trump now directly affects the main topic of the talks with Putin, Kerry – Syria.

Before the visit of Kerry, the Russian military declared that the Americans tighten the harmonization of rules of responding to ceasefire violations in Syria – that is, there is still no single list of the anti-Assad factions that have agreed on a truce and no joint U.S.-Russian monitoring compliance with the ceasefire. Our military has promised in case of absence of reaction from the U.S. yesterday alone to use force against violators – which, of course, immediately raise the allegation that “Russia is bombing those who have ceased to fight”. To agree the lists will not carry with Putin but the Kremlin will discuss the issue of maintaining the ceasefire in General and the beginning of direct negotiations between Assad and the armed opposition.

Goals of Russia and the USA at this stage coincide – Washington needs to show success in the fight against ISIS and the progress toward a peaceful settlement in Syria. The Americans insist that the settlement includes the departure of Assad – even the gradual but important guaranteed. Not because they personally so hated Asad – just do not want to lose face, and most importantly, the waiver of the requirement will bring down the last remnants of confidence in the U.S. from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

USA is not the first want the Moscow promised the departure of Assad – and last summer, after the Iranian deal, it is not clear where even the “found signs” that Russia is ready to abandon support for Syrian President. It was a surprise to Washington when it was revealed that Russia has transferred to Syria aviation, and preparing for military operations. The main aim of which was the strengthening of the positions of government forces and the enforcement of all foreign and domestic enemies of Assad to negotiate with Damascus. Now these negotiations began – albeit long and indirect, but without the original requirements care of the tyrant as a precondition for negotiations. Kerry will again raise the issue of Assad’s removal is now already in the medium term, a year and a half? Unlikely – the position of Moscow has already demonstrated so clearly, why waste time.

We will discuss more mundane things – the acceleration of negotiations in Geneva, how to calm Erdogan, worried because of the autonomy of the Syrian Kurds, it is Moscow that after the destruction of the IG, was produced by an informal partition of Syria into zones of influence (roughly speaking, the West is a Russian sphere of influence, adjacent to the East and Iraq to the Kurdish area – U.S.). States, apparently, still not discounting the possibility that the outcome of the Syrian settlement Russia to accept Assad controlled only most of the Western part of the country, without attempting to restore its authority over all its territory.

But even if Russia and the US agree to strongly push the Geneva process, to divide Syria Moscow – not to mention the fact that it is foolish to divide the skin of not killed IG. Now the auction is for what part of the territory of Syria will be able to fix as under the normal control of antiasadovskih forces, we have entered into a truce, and what to paint in the colors of the “Caliphate” and “An-Nusra” that is the remaining territory of war.

It is clear that the Syrian settlement, not to mention the fighting against the “Caliphate” (which is not to defeat the forces of the Syrian army and the Kurds, even under condition of successful action on the part of local Iraqi Shia militias) will be larger than the left time of the current Washington administration. But Obama wants to at least an agreement on the future structure of Syria was signed with him – that is the war on the most part of Syrian territory, agreed the future configuration of the coalition authorities and the designated date of departure of Assad.

If the last point is unreachable, then the first two arrangements can be concluded before the end of the year (as it is calculated on one and a half years the UN plan). Putin understands these personal motives of the Nobel laureate – they are although not determinative, but still enough to significantly affect the American position factor.

Even more seriously the effects of the other vnutrikoronarnogo circumstances – election campaign and the phenomenon of trump. The billionaire is not just critical of Obama’s middle East policy – he constantly speaks of him as a wimp on the background of Putin, stressing that the Russian President doesn’t respect the American, but he, trump, was able to negotiate with the Russians.

The us elite is attacking trump in every possible way, and though foreign policy is not decisive for American voters, yet Russia in this campaign takes quite an important place. So for Democrats it is important to show that Russians respect Obama, what combining pressure (isolation, sanctions and all that) and openness to negotiation, he is able to get them to go on profitable for America agreement.

For example, on Syria – well, see, we were at war with the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria supported the Kurds demanded the departure of Assad, and in the end still achieved a peace agreement in Syria, stopped the slaughter and the Russians joined us in this, and Assad eventually leaves. It turns out that Obama can negotiate with Putin – so, and then trump is lying.

It is clear that such propaganda is not too will affect trump’s supporters – but still democratic administration can not try to do everything to stop the upstart. This does not negate the fundamental rivalry between the U.S. and Russia over Syria for influence in the middle East as a whole – but understanding that the opponent is in time trouble and gives Putin more opportunities. He, like Russia, there is no hurry – time now works for us.

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