The challenge before the United States is to manage, without illusions, a difficult and combative relationship with Russia.
Trump needs to look beyond illusory bargains with Russia and China and instead develop clear-eyed frameworks to manage bilateral disagreements and make progress on common policy objectives based on U.S. national security interests.
The current Russian regime is not static in terms of ideology. It was able to activate intense nationalist sentiment during the Ukraine crisis and calm it down later, without undermining Putin’s personal legitimacy and popular support.
NATO needs to strengthen its defenses while taking measured steps to contain an escalating adversarial relationship with Russia.
Russia presents significant security challenges to the United States and its allies for which the Trump administration has yet to indicate a policy direction, particularly in regard to Russia’s stance on the INF Treaty.
“Medvedevgate” will be forgotten quickly, however, an after-effect will remain, if only because this story revealed the political and economic workings of Russia’s current elite. It provided an inside look at how money and luxury serve as the lifeblood animating Russia’s body politic.
President Trump’s “grand bargain” with Putin is setting expectations too high for what can be achieved under the current circumstances.
Since 2014, the United States has publicly accused Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In light of reports that Russia has already deployed a significant number of prohibited missiles, the Trump administration will face the tough decision about whether or not to remain committed to the treaty.
Sino-Russian relations are fairly strong and mutually beneficial, particularly for Russia in its pursuit of global power status. It will be difficult to manage triangular relations between China, the United States, and Russia.
The Reykjavik summit from thirty years ago shows what can be done when two leaders, whose states are supposedly implacable enemies, take responsibility and act to enhance the world’s strategic stability and safety.