Mikhail Taratuta: "If Trump wins, everything will be started from scratch"
The first and only debate between major-party vice presidential nominees were held in the US. According to the CNN poll, 48% of the voters said Republican Michael Pence did the better job, while his rival from the Democratic Party Timothy Kane was supported by 42% of the voters. The confrontation with Russia was one of the main topics of the debate. Russian journalist, analyst and Americanologist Mikhail Taratuta told Vestnik Kavkaza about future relations of the US with Russia if Republican Donald Trump wins the presidency and if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins.
- Who do you predict will win in the elections?
- No serious expert or observer would dare to predict even a month before the elections. Both candidates are running neck-and-neck. Everything will depend on what will happen during the month remaining until the elections.
If Hillary Clinton wins, most likely, that we can hardly expect any warming of our relations with the United States. Clinton represents a particular point of view on Russia, which has emerged among the US political class in recent years. This point of view is that Russia is a dangerous country, it should be restrained.
If Trump wins, there will be a certain window of opportunity. There is no assurance that our relations will improve, but it is possible that it will happen. Everything will be started from scratch. According to Trump's statements, he has a different attitude to the US role in the world. He believes that the US needs to take a break away from its role of the world's policeman and stop putting out fires all over the world, mind its own business, therefore, it is necessary to negotiate with other countries. There is such a possibility, one can negotiate with anyone, they just need to sit down and try to reach a compromise. Nobody can say now whether it will happen or not, because his point of view, his position in international politics is contrary to the opinion of the US establishment. The political class will provide a very strong resistance, if Trump pursues this policy. Will Trump find enough political strength to overcome this resistance? This is a big question. The US Congress, which is the core of the political class, has a very large power, including the impeachment to the president.
- You said that the candidates are running neck-and-neck. Do these candidates have any trump cards, which can help them to get ahead?
- Trump's main trump card is Clinton's scandalous loop. This is also the e-mail scandal when she used a private server for official correspondence, which is absolutely unacceptable, because there is a risk of disclosure of state secrets. As some hackers could steal sensitive information. It is possible that we will find it out in the remaining month before the elections. Any other man would have been in jail already, but Clinton gets away with it, because the government covers her up.
Trump's second trump card is recent serious doubts with regard to the Clinton Foundation. It grew by several billion dollars over the last 15 years, and probably the people who donated money would like some kind of service from the State Department. Perhaps these suspicions of corruption are not so unfounded, but there is no investigation so far. Maybe Trump has any information which can shed some light.
Clinton also has a trump card against Trump. His personality and qualification are not suitable for the role of president and could lead the US to disaster. This is a very convincing argument for many people.
- What disaster do you mean?
- An economic one. For example, Trump proposes to establish a 45% tariff on Chinese exports. Taking into account the enormous degree of economic cooperation between China and the US, this could lead to a global crisis. According to Hillary Clinton, Trump is incompetent person for being a president and many people agree with her.
- Is it possible to predict how a policy on the Middle East will develop under Clinton and Trump?
- It is very difficult to predict. We see the obvious political deadlock in the Middle East. Military operations are continuing and will likely increase. The possibility of cooperation between the United States and Russia gave us hope, but since there is no cooperation now and it will hardly be resumed soon, we can assume that the situation in the Middle East will become more acute, thousands of people will be killed, the number of refugees in Europe will increase.
If Trump is elected, it's hard to predict anything. He does not have a coherent policy on the Middle East. He promises to "knock the hell out of these jihadists, from ISIL", but it is not clear how.
- Do Clinton and Trump have any interest in the Caucasus?
- I doubt if they know where this region is. The level of the geographical education of Americans is very low. If Hillary as a Secretary of State may suspect where the Caucasus is, then Trump could possibly have heard something about it somewhere. I am very glad that Russia is helping to resolve the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, serving as a mediator.