Ahead of Putin-Trump Summit US-Russian Relations Hit Rock Bottom

Ahead of Putin-Trump Summit US-Russian Relations Hit Rock Bottom

26-10-18 04:25:00,

“Clearly, the US is hoping to achieve military superiority over Russia by vastly expanding its nuclear capability and developing new weapons so as to reach a position where it can dictate to Moscow”

The highlight of the consultations of the US National Security Advisor John Bolton in Moscow on Monday was the announcement of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Paris on November 11 on the sidelines of the ceremony marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War 1. Furthermore, it was mentioned that Putin has been invited to the White House.

A range of other topics came up for discussion but neither Bolton nor the Russian side divulged any details. Putin himself had a 90-minute meeting with Bolton, which means some substantive discussions took place.

So, things are improving in US-Russia relations? The answer is yes and no. ‘Yes’ because a meeting at the highest level is always useful, if only for the two leaderships to exchange views and keep tensions under check. On the contrary, US-Russia relations have hit rock bottom. Today, it was disclosed in Moscow that some of the drone attacks on the Russian base at Hmeimim in Syria were operated from the US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane. This is unprecedented in the entire history of Cold War — US directly attacking a Russian military base.

Of course, the ‘known unknown’ is the results of the Nov 6 US mid-term elections. Will Trump go into the Paris meeting as a weakened president or not. From present indications, Democrats may fail to get majority in the US Senate.

Meanwhile, no sooner than Bolton left Moscow, Russia hit out on the US decision to quit INF Treaty. Putin told the media on Wednesday: “What is a formal pretext for a possible withdrawal of our partners from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty? Accusing us of its violation. However, no evidence is offered as usual. Meanwhile, the US has already violated it (by deploying in Romania the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System)… The ‘stop thief’ principle does not work here. We closely analyze all that is going on in real life. But we are ready to work with our American partners without going into hysterics.”

In separate remarks on Wednesday,

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Why It’s so Crucial That Putin-Trump Summit Happens Next Month

Why It’s so Crucial That Putin-Trump Summit Happens Next Month

25-06-18 09:08:00,

Presidents Trump and Putin appear set to hold a summit meeting in July. This will be their third in-person meeting even though both leaders have made statements about how they have a positive working relationship and that they have spoken often by phone.

The U.S. domestic political climate on Russia is especially fraught at present. The White House is at odds with the Justice Department “Russia investigation” team led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has reportedly sought to question President Trump. At the same time, momentum is building ahead of November’s midterm elections, with leaders from both parties warning about the risks of further “Russian meddling.”

In Russia there is widespread skepticism about any Trump-Putin meeting. Pundits and opinion-makers raise doubts about whether Trump can deliver on any significant matters important to Moscow. The predominant mood is that the U.S. president remains a hostage to the unanimously anti-Russian Washington establishment and that any agreement with him can be overruled by the U.S. Congress or even by his own administration.

Yet what should be in the forefront of the minds of both presidents is the dangerous state of U.S.-Russia relations, and its consequences for the interests of both countries and for global security.

Since the end of the Cold War, and perhaps even since the early 1980s, Moscow and Washington have never been closer to direct military confrontation, a consequence of increasing deployments, exercises, and operations by air, sea, and ground forces from the Baltic region to the Middle East. In some cases, Russian and NATO forces have nearly come into hostile contact, and escalation has been avoided by only the narrowest of margins.

Both Russia and the United States are set to invest billions in modernizing their nuclear arsenals, which, although positive from a safety and reliability standpoint, create the impression of a new “arms race,” as the presidents acknowledged in a March phone call. An especially worrying new dimension to the nuclear risk is the possibility that cyber attacks by states or non-state actors could lead either party to raise its nuclear alert level, thus triggering a matching response from the other side, and possibly touching off a dangerous escalatory cycle.

The forthcoming Trump-Putin meeting cannot resolve fundamental problems between Washington and Moscow.

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