Ivan Timofeyev: "Trump has more political will than Obama and Bush"
The official inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, was held yesterday. Program director of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs Ivan Timofeyev discussed the possibility of Trump's era becoming a new landmark in the American and world history in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- Can President Trump change America and the world?
- Trump's America will likely become more focused on itself, the country will become a tougher player. This will create a completely new situation in the world. Using a boxing metaphor, if Obama and Bush used their superiority, danced in the ring, showing how tough they are, in Trump's case we will get a very concentrated, focused boxer, who understands that his resources are limited, but knows exactly what he wants to achieve and how to do it. Trump has more political will than Obama and Bush.
- The American society is currently divided, will Trump be able to overcome this situation?
- It's very difficult to consolidate the American society. Historically, it is divided into multiple groups of interests, various movements and classes. Controlled chaos is a characteristic of American political system, American democracy. Trump won't be able to bring them all together, and he doesn't have to. The problem is that the polarization of certain forces and public expectations in the United States is extremely strong, and it is difficult to overcome it. Trump try to fulfill the interests and aspirations of his electorate - working class, taxpayers, whose money support the state. They are dissatisfied with the fact that American money and other resources go abroad at the expense of their interests. This is a great example of conflict between globalist elite, classes oriented at the globalization, those who supported Obama, and native American citizens, representatives of the middle class, mainly white people, who like "make America great again" slogan and want leader, who will attract resources and investments, fight in the market aggressively. In other words, a leader that will fight for everything that would allow them to be proud of their country and understand that their taxes aren't used on useless projects of politicians.
- Should we expect radical changes in relations with Russia?
- Our relations won't change significantly, actually, they may even get worse. The window of opportunity is there, but it does not mean anything. No matter how well our society views Trump, we should not overestimate his success. Dialogue with Russia is important for him not because he loves Russia, but because he understands the goals and priorities of the United States. If he can achieve them through dialogue, then everything will be fine. If not, then Trump will act much more radically.
- What about US-China relations?
- This is a very important question. Relations between China and America can be improved, but right now they are getting worse due to Trump's statements. He strongly opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership and believes that China is a strategic threat to the United States. Since Russia is a very important partner of China, we have a privileged strategic partnership, and United States may find themselves in a difficult situation when they have to restrain both Moscow and Beijing. In this sense, Trump has additional motivation to get Russia out of partnership with China, or at least prevent this partnership from turning into military-political alliance.
- Considering Trump's rhetoric about members of NATO, what will happen to the alliance?
- It is unlikely that there will be institutional reform in NATO, but members of the alliance in Europe will certainly have more military spendings. I would like to note that this is not Trump's personal idea - Americans are talking about it for a long time, they tried to encourage Europeans to pay more for their defense in every possible way. This policy will continue, Trump just said about it more directly, like he usually does.