RUSSIA-US RELATIONS: The art of balancing

Russia-US relations over the next six years will be characterised by a type of balancing act as each country attempts to consolidate its interests in Eurasia

Why six years? Six years from now will mark the completion of President Vladimir Putin’s fourth and final term in office – and the final term of President Donald Trump, should he be reelected to office. Ties between the US and Russia will, to a large extent, determine the future of Eurasia’s stability.

Acquiring a deeper understanding of the two countries and their interaction is key. What is each aiming to achieve in Eurasia, and is it possible to forecast certain outcomes of their engagements with each other? Two important developments have recently occurred: the re-election of Putin to his final term in office, and Trump’s perceived “taming” of

the State Department through the appointment of his new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. The first development was easily predicable, but the second came as a surprise for many.

Taken together, they will help determine the course of Russia-US relations over the next few years. The Kraken and The Balancer In order to better understand RussiaUS relations, it’s necessary to first have a general understanding of Trump and Putin’s worldviews.

This will enable us to see where the two leaders’ interests converge and diverge. Trump is fondly described by his supporters as “The Kraken” – a mythological Norse sea monster known for causing problems.

To them, and the Balancer are all too evident in three conflict situations, playing out in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria, respectively. The situation in the Eastern European country is currently frozen, while the one in the southcentral Asian state is heating up.

Each case, on the surface, appears to be totally disconnected from the other. However, the future of both Ukraine and Afghanistan may be intertwined with the outcome of the conflict in Syria. On this, Russia and the US are curiously at the closest they’ve ever been to reaching an agreement.

Find the full article in BRICS Journal’s 6th Issue 

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