Vladimir Olenchenko: "Trump closed the prospect of the Russian-American relations"
Yesterday, US President Donald Trump signed into a law a bill on new sanctions against Russia, adopted by Congress a week ago, saying that the document limits the executive power and its ability to pursue the foreign policy, and is significantly unconstitutional. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the senior researcher of the Center for European Studies of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, about how the new domestic political tendencies of the United States will affect the relations between Moscow and Washington.
- How far will Donald Trump cave in to Congress in the future?
- There is a certain element of the internal political game, because simultaneously with the signing of the bill, the head of the president’s apparatus made a statement that 11parts of the law restrict his rights granted by the Constitution. I think that Trump is a little flirtatious, telling he allegedly was led by the nose by Congress. This is a manifestation of the political game of the US president. And the fact that he signed this bill, which thus becomes a law, has disappointed me a lot.
- So, if he did not want to do this, he would not sign it?
- Absolutely right. This is called the political will. Trump was given the authority as the head of the state. He had an opportunity not to sign the bill, but he did not take an advantage of it. This is some sort of a game for the outside world, which is designed to tell us that there are contradictions and a struggle between Trump and Congress. But in fact, at the same time Congress approved a candidacy of the FBI director, suggested by Trump, by the same number of votes. And if Congress was determined to do everything unpleasant to Trump, then it would not approve him. Therefore, most likely, we can speak if not about a coordination between Congress and Trump, then at least about some general agreement between them in terms of what policy should be persuaded.
- So, we can not talk about America’s transformation into a parliamentary republic yet, can we?
- We do not have any grounds for this, it's only a hypothesis. It would be completely different situation, if the changes were made to the Constitution, but the Constitution remains the same. It is still an exaggeration to talk about America’s transformation to the parliamentary republic. In addition, there is also the party discipline - the Senate and the US House of Representatives still consist of the representatives of the two parties. So the US parliament can not be considered an independent political force, which resists Trump.
- Why did Trump resort to this kind of action?
- Perhaps, we are witnessing a change in the methods of the American policy. I think that it's not so much about Trump, but about the actions of the American political elite. Undoubtedly, there are groups, whose rivalry is based on the protection of the certain economic interests. And Trump at the moment personifies the interests of the military-industrial complex, as well as the oil and gas industry. But business is not just this. In the US, there are other interests, and those who protect them understand that their positions can be pressed. Therefore, they are fighting against the projects proposed by Trump.
- How will the new domestic political reality of the United States affect the relations between Moscow and Washington?
-In a negative way. First, it restricts our contacts, secondly, it closes the perspective, and, thirdly, testifies to Trump's insincerity, because after the meeting in Hamburg he made a statement that he was satisfied with the meeting and wanted to develop relations, and the facts present a different picture. I think this is a general trend of the current US administration, for example, they have already voiced threats to China, and there will be other countries as well. Moreover, Americans completely ignored their Western European counterparts - Germany, France, Italy and Spain - not finding it necessary to consult with them. After all, Vice President Mike Pence flew to Europe, but visited only Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro. In other words, he visited the so-called countries-outsiders, prompting them to follow the new American policy. Thus, he ignored Western Europe, and it looks like a disregard. They really hoped for a consultation, and Trump just signed the bill. So everything shows that this was done consciously and prepared in advance.