Russian-American summit: why there will be no rapid results
Two days have passed since the meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16, and politicians and experts are all waiting for some secret agreements reached during the summit to be announced. The members of the US Democratic Party demanded that an interpreter who was present at the meeting testify in the Congress and disclose the details of the conversation; Kiev appealed to Washington for clarification on the talks on the possible new proposals for resolving the situation in eastern Ukraine.
According to Russia's ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov Putin and Trump did not conclude secret agreements, and the Director General of the Russian Council for International Affairs Andrey Kortunov considers the very fact of the summit to be a success. "Russia has long proposed holding a full-fledged summit, but for a number of reasons, such a summit did not take place. There was a meeting between Putin and Trump in the margins of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, there was a short meeting in Vietnam, there were several telephone conversations. Therefore, a new page in our relations has been opened. The specifics of the relations is such that without meetings at the highest level, nothing is moving forward. It was always that way, even during the Soviet period. Recall the meetings between Nixon and Brezhnev, Reagan and Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Clinton. In my opinion, such a peculiarity of our relations will remain. It means they will develop downwards. First, the presidents meet and make fundamental decisions, and then the cogwheels of еру cumbersome bureaucratic machines begin spinning - diplomats, officials, military men, intelligence agents start to act, something changes in the relations. So the very fact of the meeting is important, " Andrey Kortunov said.
He also noted that there was a lot of speculation before the summit: "There were unreasonable hopes that the two leaders would take some fateful decisions on strategic weapons, regional problems, sanctions, and the West feared that the meeting would lead to some kind of a strategical U-turn. For example, Trump would prefer a partnership with Putin to his traditional alliances and partners in Europe. I have recently returned from Beijing, where there were also some fears that Russia would pay less attention to the traditional partnership with China, especially amid the fact that the US-China relations are going through a tense period and tend to deteriorate. These fantasies are clear, especially when they are voiced by journalists, but experts have always called for restraint in assessments.’’
Kortunov is convinced that the summit opened the door for the practical cooperation at the lower levels: "Obviously, we will see the results of this opening in Syria in the near future." Of course, more intensive work will begin in the sphere of strategic armaments, in this regard, the RIAC and START II treaties will be affected, maybe some general dialogue on strategic stability in which both sides are interested in may be intensified. Perhaps, however, it will be possible to stop the diplomatic war, and the embassies and consulates will start work as usual.
This will be a very complex process, and the rapid positive results of a serious scale cannot be expected. But without this summit, even the modest results would hardly have been possible. Therefore, we have the right to say that this meeting is a success of both the Russian and American diplomacy.’’
The Director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Valery Garbuzov described the summit as a belated but a necessary start of a possible dialogue: "We do not know if a full dialogue will develop from this meeting, reinforced by contacts at the lower levels. We will see the results in the second part of the year. The summit was held in the most unfavorable for the Russian-American relations conditions - the bilateral ties are almost destroyed, they have to be restored and reanimated in so many areas.
Garbuzov is alarmed that the significant forces in the US political elite, mainly associated with the Democratic party, were against this meeting: "The general opinion of this part of the American establishment is the following: the meeting showed that Trump is in Putin's pocket. It's bad that there is such a perception of the US political elite because it can torpedo all the hopes that normal people assigned to the meeting. Every Trump’s step toward Russia will be considered as an evidence of Trump's contacts with Moscow. This undermines and blocks not only Trump's ability to do something using his presidential post, but it's generally bad for the presidential institution itself. This whole story with interference in the elections, all of these investigations are directed against Trump. Therefore, this could undermine the prospects for the normal, constructive ties between the two states, because the anti-Russian propaganda and anti-Russian sentiment in the US have remained, to some extent it may even be strengthened. Thus, it will take a long time to get out of this situation.”