By inviting Putin to Versailles, Macron threw his hat in the ring for the role of a new geopolitical leader in Europe. He made this decision in the context of not just bilateral relations but also France’s relations with the West and the EU. Macron is trying to demonstrate his ability to confront the bad guys, draw red lines, and differentiate between pragmatic objectives and overarching values.
Russians’ fondness for Donald Trump doesn’t mean that anti-American sentiment has suddenly disappeared in Russia. But even though Trump’s election is unlikely to reverse decades of mistrust, his statements about improving relations with Russia have already had an impact on Russians’ attitudes toward the United States.
Russians’ high expectations of Donald Trump may be disappointed. Trump and Putin have a lot in common, and Trump’s victory has dashed the hopes of those Russians who believe in American democracy. But the new American president-elect’s unpredictable personality could also make for a stormy relationship.
As the U.S. presidential election approaches on November 8, Carnegie.ru asked three experts, one in Russia, one in the United States, and one in Europe, to comment on the question: “Is the break between the Putin administration and the West permanent?”
Moscow is trying to rattle Washington by projecting its political and military might as the most dangerous crisis develops in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War era. The suspension of the 2000 plutonium agreement may threaten a whole range of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation treaties.
The Russian leadership has precipitated an even graver confrontation with the United States, abandoning its ambition for a diplomatic leadership role in Syria. The rupture looks like a preemptive strike by Russia in the context of the U.S. election campaign.
The most advantageous option for Russia and the United States is to sign another START agreement on more cuts in nuclear weapons. However, if that is not possible, it makes sense for the two sides to extend the current treaty signed in 2010.
The risk of outright conflict in Europe is higher than it has been for years and the confrontation between Russia and the West shows no sign of ending. To prevent misunderstandings and dangerous incidents, the two sides must improve their methods of communication.
The sympathy expressed by President Putin and the Russian media for the victims of the Orlando attack gives Russia the opportunity to discard its discredited homophobic policies and to attempt a similar offer of rapprochement to the one Putin extended after the September 11 attacks.