John Bolton suggests that Putin can play Trump like a fiddle. The truth is that under the forty-fifth U.S. president, the bilateral relationship with Russia is now as bad as at any time since the early 1980s.
The longer-term consequences of the coronavirus will include the further intensification of U.S.-Chinese rivalry, and the emerging Sino-American bipolarity. Russia’s top priority should be to carefully maintain equilibrium—though not equidistance—between the United States and China.
While broadly perceived as a blow to the EU and its values, Brexit will actually benefit a future democratic Russia. Britain’s exit will create a new model of Europeanness, in which a country can strive to achieve European standards without EU membership. That is a niche Russia can fill.
Many Brits continue to believe that Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum campaign by financing and promoting the Leave campaign. In addition, the legacy of the poisoning of the Skripals will impact bilateral relations for years to come, with no mutually acceptable resolution in sight.
The world is probably entering a period of new bipolarity, in which the main players will be the United States and China. The situation will prompt various states to address the question of how they relate to the new central axis of global rivalry, this time between Washington and Beijing.