The deal between Trump and Putin
Rapporteur_Hessam Karbasian: Without any doubt, a world in which Trump and Putin, are two of its presidents, can also be interesting and challenging and dangerous because these "interests" will take precedence over everything else.
On the one hand, Putin's first years Moscow and on the other hand, alternative Trump Democrat Obama will be based on the view of many analysts, would be a sign of a deep crisis in the liberal capitalist system. Although Obama in his time, at some point after the restoration of relations with Russia, but not only failed but also relations between Moscow and Washington led to the worst point since the Cold War.
However, Trump and Putin's statements in support of each other, promising favorable prospects for the relations between Russia and America. What direction is the sensitive areas of the international system? And Putin and the Trump casinos, the state of which direction will lead to peace and international stability, an important question that will be posed by many observers.
Another question, of course, especially for the Islamic Republic of Iran, is that "friendship" Trump and Putin, who according to some interpretations, one "enemy" and the other "comrade" Iran, what effect it will have on the interests and future of our country?
America and the Soviet Union between 1940 and 1990 were involved in the Cold War. After World War II, over issues such as the fate of Germany, Eastern Europe and the Soviet differences between America and its allies has emerged that the war was widely publicized against one another. During this period of competition between the two superpowers in various fields such as military alliance, ideology, psychology, espionage, sports, military, industry and continued technology development.
The advertising media war and finally by Bernard Baruch, American politics as the Cold War and was in a persistent world. Now after severe stress, the relationship between Washington and Moscow to their honeymoon is over.
since China appears to be Trump’s biggest concern, why not propose Putin turns away from the East in exchange for the re-engagement with the West, and gets his hands free both in Ukraine and Syria?
Even before his inauguration, President Donald Trump appeared to be sympathetic to President Vladimir Putin. It therefore seemed likely that since becoming president, Trump might be expected to offer something to the Kremlin, but might not necessarily be willing to make any concessions.
But Trump and Putin’s agendas do not interfere with each other as much as the world predicted. Trump wants to make America great again; whereas Putin wishes to secure Russia’s regional interests, and therefore is in fact much less ambitious. Taking this into account, the US leader may offer Putin a seducing, but poisonous, compromise.
What exactly does Putin want? He wants Nato to be stopped at its current limits, Ukraine and other post-Soviet states to remain in Russia’s sphere of influence, Western sanctions to be lifted, the Crimean peninsula recognized as a Russian territory, and Assad to remain in power in Damascus.
None of this actually poses a real problem to the US. Even the Ukrainian issue is not looming large, since the European nations have no intention of inviting Ukraine into the EU and Nato has no plans to expand. Moreover, Kiev itself has done everything possible to further ruin the country’s economy, sidelining those who protested at the Maidan in 2014, and alienating its prospective allies.
So if Russia really wants to be sucked into Ukraine’s problems, there are no good reasons for the US to prevent this. If Ukraine were much more committed to reforms and change in recent years and appeared to be another high-growth economy and a beacon of democracy for its neighbors, it might be a good deal to support it, but it doesn’t look like the right choice under the current conditions. So, Trump will not betray any of the Western interests if he makes some important concessions to Putin.
The problem is what to ask for in exchange. Many experts believe that the main trade-off might include the cooperation between the US and Russia in their war on Isis in Syria – and even some subordination of the Russians to the Americans – which will be the price for Russia’s freedom of action in Ukraine. But the US simply doesn’t need any coordination with the Russians in the Middle East: if they want to defend Assad’s regime from Isis, why should the West be against it? Whoever wins there, the number of refugees to Europe and elsewhere will not decrease. Who can imagine Syria may be restored as a single and functioning state? Does the West want to invest a lot into this despairing adventure?
So there should be another trade-off, and this might be Russia’s China policy. For years, Putin has tried to convince the whole world Russia is pivoting to the East, even as its bilateral trade with China decreased from $80bn in Jan-Nov 2013 to $58.7bn in Jan-Nov 2016. Since China appears to be Trump’s biggest concern, why not propose Putin opts out from China in exchange for the re-engagement with the West, and gets his hands free both in Ukraine and Syria?
For Putin, it would be extremely difficult to turn down such a proposal. No one in Russia cares about the alliance with China, while many actually fear it. But to resolve the Crimean issue, to press Ukraine further while getting the sanctions lifted, would be a great success for him. Syria would also be an important win for Putin, having come to the Kremlin as a staunch anti-terrorist warrior. So Putin might end up getting all he wished for and restoring the respect he once had in the world.
The real issue is that Russia becomes more and more deeply involved in two wars it cannot win. The conflict in Ukraine will definitely intensify if the West withdraws its largely symbolic support to Kiev. Russia will try to topple the government and replace it with pro-Kremlin local oligarchs, which will lead to more Ukrainian energy subsidies, costing Moscow dozens of billions of dollars every year and causing continuous unrest on the Western borders. Syria will also take a lot of money and time, and mean more maneuvers between Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, once again with no positive result in sight. And if the rift between China and Russia becomes a reality, there will be no alternative for Moscow but to grow a deeper economic dependency from the West. This will produce both a weaker Russia and China, which the US may desire, with some disarray in old conflict zones, which might be largely neglected without bitter consequences.
Of course, Russia might reject such a proposal, but in this case, as the Russian saying goes: “a negative result is nevertheless a result”, and the new US administration can go forward in any direction it wants, since everything that happens next will not be its fault, but the fault of the other side.
'A huge bonus'
With U.S. intelligence agencies accusing Moscow of having sponsored computer hacking to help Trump win office, a deal would hand fresh political ammunition to Trump's opponents, who say he has long been too complimentary to the Russian leader.
A delay would have the added advantage of postponing a chorus of disapproval from foreign allies and Congress, where there is bipartisan determination to block sanctions relief.
For Putin though, in his 17th year of dominating the Russian political landscape, a deal, or even an early symbolic concession such as easing minor sanctions, matters.
Expected to contest a presidential election next year that could extend his time in the Kremlin to 2024, he needs sanctions relief to help lift the economy out of recession.
U.S. and EU financial sector sanctions have cut Russia's access to Western capital markets and know-how, scared off foreign investors, and -- coupled with low global oil prices -- have exacerbated an economic crisis that has cut real incomes and fueled inflation, making life harder for millions.
Since Putin's 2012 election, consumer prices have risen by 50 percent, while a fall in the value of the rouble against the dollar after the annexation of Crimea means average salaries fell by 36 percent from 2012-2016 in dollar terms.
Official data puts inflation at 5.4 percent, but consumers say the real figure is much higher, and fear of inflation regularly ranks among Russians' greatest worries in surveys.
An easing of U.S. sanctions could spur more foreign investment, helping create a feel-good factor.
"It would be a huge bonus if it happened," said Chris Weafer, senior partner at economic and political consultancy Macro-Advisory Ltd, who said he thought Putin wanted to put rebuilding the economy at the heart of his next term.
The economy matters to Putin because, in the absence of any more land grabs like Crimea, greater prosperity is one of the few levers he has to get voters to come out and support him.
With state TV affording him blanket and favorable coverage and with the liberal opposition still weak, few doubt Putin would genuinely win another presidential term if, as expected, he decided to run.
But for the win to be politically durable and for Putin to be able to confidently contemplate serving out another full six-year term, he would need to win big on a respectable turnout.
That, an election showed last year, is not a given.
Around 4 million fewer Russians voted for the pro-Putin United Russia party in a September parliamentary vote compared to 2011, the last time a similar election was held.
Although the economic benefits of a Trump deal might take a while to trickle down to voters, its symbolism could boost turnout, helping Putin prolong a system based on himself.
"It would be presented to the Russian people as a huge victory by Putin," said von Eggert. "It would be described as a validation of his strategy to go to war in Ukraine regardless of the consequences and to turn the country into Fortress Russia."