Russia and United States in a new cold war, even Donald Trump can’t prevent
US president Donald Trump couldn’t do otherwise, but sign a law, passed by US Congress with a huge majority, imposing new sanctions on Russia. He did it grudgingly, but the fact is, his hands were tied in a area, otherwise reserved for the president, in foreign policy.
That made it clear to the Russians, there will be no warming of relations with US and they reacted by expelling 755 US diplomats, bringing their number donw on par with Russian diplomats in US. They waited with a harsher response to US actions since the election of Donald Trump for US president, even if Washington was firing arrows toward them all that time, not to talk about almost unbeliavable rusophobic campaign coming out of US media.
New sanctions will not damage Russia that much. The country has pulled out of an economic crisis, which wasn’t particulary deep and was caused by a combination of falling oil prices, sanctions and internal structural problems and is growing again. Even more, sanctions were wisely used for strenghtening different sectors of the economy, the most for agriculture, all of which made Russia much more self sufficient and resistent to outside schocks, as it was before. No, if anybody, the brunt of the sanctions will be borne by Europeans, as American do not have extensive business contacts with Russia.
Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, wrote on his facebook profile, new US sanctions were tantamount to declaring a trade war and show, how Donald Trumps administration has become impotent. ‘ The hope for improving our relations with the new U.S. administration is now over,’ he wrote.
There was definitely hope in the Russian rulling circles, Trump would bring a tournaround in US Russian relations, but that hope proved false. In United States the deep state showed their teeth and forced Trump to at least partially fulfill their wishes. Sanctions are just the beginning and we can expect even stronger pressure, to worsen relations. It is possible, US will start arming Ukraine and maybe even support Kievs millitary operation to retake control of the rebellious Donbas.
Ukraine and Syria have in recent years showed, Russians have no intention to retreat, even for a price of war. Well, it has been like that since the Georgian attack on South Osetia and Abkhasia in 2008, which forced Russia to react with an intervention, finally tearing both separatist regions from Georgian hands. Lets recall all the media attacks, which followed, even if the attack was launched by Georgians in the first place. But then there were just toothless attack, which ofcourse didn’t change anything. It was the same in Ukraine and Syria. In Ukraine western powers supported a violent coup d’etat, which lead to a rebellion in the Russian speaking part of southeast of the country and to Russian anexation of Crimea. In Syria those same powers in alliance with gulf sunny Arab states supported moderate and not that moderate rebells, which in time brought a small scale Russian intervention on the side of the Assad regime.
Why aren’t Russians ready to retreat anymore and why do they see an enemy in the west, particularly in the US? Because, after the end of the Cold war, those powers were constantly moving the borders of their interest sphere closer to Russian borders. Because, they sponsored colour revolutions, which ruined many a state. Because, it became clear, their turn will come and a colour revolution would be attempted in Russia itself, weakening the state, maybe even fracturing it into smaller, easier controled statelets. In short, they have no choice.
This doesn’t foretell some agressive Russian move against the West. It is clear by now, Russian president Vladimir Putin is a very reserved person, mostly just reacting and even then calmly, as it was in the case of Turkish shooting down of an Russian attack plane in Syria. No millitary agression is planned and even the stories about Russian intereference in elections in western states are made up. What will happen, Russians will try to deapen their alliance with China, strenghten cooperation, especially economic, with many states, from Iran to the Philipines and even with Turkey, why on the other hand persisitng in defence of their interests in Ukraine, Syria and elswhere. It means, if the US arms Ukraine and causes an attack on the Donbas, Russian borders will stay open for weapons and volunteers and even a larger intervention to protect Russian speaking population is not out of the question. A both US and Russia are nuclear powers, such a scenario would mean a prolonged blood letting in which neither side could win. Allthough, as Ukraine is led right now, it is entirely possible Ukraine could crash on its own long before such a war occurs.
Russian strategy seems simple. With the smallest investment impact on the condition on the ground in crisis areas like Ukraine and Syria or maybe even in Lybia and so expand their infulence. Prevent foreign medling and export of instability to Russia. Search for useful connections with as many countries as possbble, most of all with China. Build a multipolar world. American strategy, on the other hand, seems far less peaceloving.
Donald Trump, despite all his bombastic talk, doesn’t seem a war president. He is not as ready to send additional US troops to Afghanistan, as some would want. He ordered a limited and quite inefective attack on a Syrian airbase and ended support to some rebels in the country. With all the threats, nothing has happened with North Korea, even if the hermit kingdom can now fire rockets further, than it ever could. But, Trump is ever more powerless and pressured to defend US hegemony in the world. He is forced, to toughen his stance on Russia, they want him to send additional troops to Afghanistan, they wish he would invest in a almost lost war in Syria. The reason for that is, US deep state understands, time is running out, to stop the rise of other great powers. In understand, the American moment will be over in a decade or two, after which US will be just one of the great powers, unable to do everything it wants, with doors shut in many regions of the planet, as they will be in interest spheres of other powers. They are the most affraid of rising power of China and reemergence of Russia. It is because of that, they wish their rise is checked, as long there is still time, even if the price is war.
We could say, Russian and US are in a cold war since 2008 and definitely after the coup in Ukraine. It is just more clear now and in Moscow there is no ilussion left, anything will change in the near future. In fact, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev talked about a cold war in february of 2016. This means relations will remain bad, independently od internal US political warfare. As long Trump is president, he might try to prevent a larger crisis, into which he will be forces, but a question remains, how succesfull he will be or if he would even try. If he is removed from office, we can expect even worse.