What Do Tea Leaves Say About Russian-US Ties?

TROITSKY: IMPROVED U.S. -RUSSIAN RELATIONS UNDER TRUMP WOULD LIKELY MEAN JOINT EFFORTS TO FIGHT ‘ISLAMIC TERRORISM,’ BUT WOULD KREMLIN ACCEPT SHARED RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONSEQUENCES? PUTIN MAY NEED TO CONTINUE TO PORTRAY U.S. AS ENEMY OR OUTMANUEVERED PARTNER IN A REELECTION BID

HOW WILL RUSSIA RESPOND TO TRUMP? (By Mikhail Troitsky, political analyst and international relations specialist. RBC Daily, Nov. 23, 2016, p. 5. Complete text:) Barring clear progress in relations with the US before the summer/fall of 2017, Moscow will again have to acknowledge irreconcilable rivalry with Washington.

Many in the Russian expert community currently expect relations with the US to improve under the new [US presidential] administration. However, the pessimists disagree with the optimists, pointing to the seriousness of US-Russian differences, and the conviction held among [US] administration officials and members of Congress that Russia is one of the US’s most dangerous adversaries in the modern world. In addition, according to the pessimists, the president-elect and his future national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, are the only ones [in the new administration] to have publicly expressed a position on Russia. And even Flynn seemingly changed his opinion [on Russia] in the final weeks before the [US presidential] election.

Of course, if a US president shows a strong will and gets personally involved in forming a policy on relations with Russia, the resistance of the administration and, in part, Congress, can be neutralized. For example, in 2009, despite being surrounded by skeptics, [US President Barack] Obama initiated a "reset" [in US-Russian relations] immediately after an acute conflict over Georgia. As it later turned out, even [then-] secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who pressed a symbolic "reset" button together with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov [see Current Digest, Vol. 61, No. 10, p. 15], was a skeptic.

How might relations develop between the two countries in the first months of the new ...

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