Moscow-Washington: why there's no dialogue
The U.S. State Department has released the data on the total number of U.S. strategic offensive weapons as of September 1, 2018. The data is aimed at indicating that the U.S. has achieved levels under the Article 2 of New START. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the result announced by the State Department disagrees with the real state of affairs, and that Washington exceeds the maximum allowed number of strategic offensive weapons by 101 units. The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the State Department to ensure the fulfillment by the US side of its obligations under the most important international treaty in the sphere of reducing and limiting nuclear missile weapons.
This is far from the only aspect of Russian-American interaction, on which the parties cannot come to an understanding.
The head of the department of international organizations and global political processes of Moscow State University, Andrei Sidorov, is convinced that it is impossible to negotiate with the US and NATO in the present situation in Washington: "Trump constantly says that he is ready for a dialogue with Russia, but there is nothing to talk about ... It's difficult to offer anything the United States and its allies in Europe - all this will be ignored. I don’t think that the November elections in the United States will improve the situation, as an internal struggle will be there. We shouldn't hope that the struggle will make a change to the Washington administration. I don’t believe impeachment is likely. The current American establishment has decided that it is capable of crushing Russia and will continue this pressure. In such circumstances, simply offering a dialogue is beyond the pale."
According to the head of the European Security Department of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, professor at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs Dmitry Danilov, engaging in dialogue for the sake of dialogue is unsuccessful tactics: “If you continue the dialogue, then you need to focus on some results. Even if this is a negative agenda - reducing risks, minimizing damages - you need results anyway. And if you need results, then you need specialized consultations, interaction. NATO refuses to interact. The Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, reiterated that NATO is not ready and cannot step over its April 2014 position to cease all contacts in the field of practical interaction."
The expert suggests to unblock the situation through selective interaction, mentioned by the EU in relation to Russia. At the same time, Dmitry Danilov admits that all practical decisions by the United States and NATO are based on allegations of Russia's aggressive actions: "Thus, the justification of programs to counter cyber threats is passed on Russia."
On October 4, a press conference was held in The Hague, during which accusations were made that Russia's representatives allegedly prepared a cyber attack against the OPCW in April. The Russian side regarded the detention and expulsion of Russian citizens as a provocation in connection with Russia's policy in the OPCW, directed against the politicization of the activities of this authoritative international structure. "No evidence has been presented. They name the guilty ones, the Main Intelligence Directorate, after which they say that the attack was stopped, but after this Stoltenberg says that Russia has taken similar actions in many places. That is, at first there are unsubstantiated accusations, then a completely practical reaction to them, and then also the transfer of these accusations to a broader context. This formula is used in NATO now not just in terms of its policy towards Russia, but also with regard to justification of functional and operational planning," the expert explains.