Does US start new confrontation with Russia?
Russia’s Defense Ministry is ready to restore cooperation with Pentagon, but attempts to build dialogue with Russia from a position of strength are fruitless, the Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said.
While commenting on a statement made by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in which he said that the US remained "open to opportunities to restore a cooperative relationship with Moscow while… ensuring our diplomats negotiate from a position of strength", the Russian defense minister stated that "attempts to build dialogue with Russia from a position of strength are fruitless."
"We expect that Pentagon’s position will be clarified today in Baku, at a meeting between Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery Makarov and his US counterpart General Joseph Dunford," TASS cited Shoigu as saying.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that a new round of confrontation with the US is possible, but it will depend on two points of the US-Russian confrontation - Ukraine and Syria. "If a crisis scenario in Ukraine develops, both parties will respond to the escalation of the situation, Russia may have to take drastic measures. In Syria, most likely, there will be no confrontation in the near future, but it will depend on the US approach to Syria," he explained.
The expert stressed that all the recent tough statements in the US about Russia speak in favor of a return to the pragmatic relation to the new Washington. "All that we hear from Washington is an occasion to stop being afraid to frighten off the friendship with Trump and defend own interests," he said, adding that these statements does not mean that the Trump administration is set to conflict with Russia.
"Washington is now seeking to remove the theme of a grand bargain with Russia completely from the agenda. But Trump is beneficial for Moscow not because he is supposedly friendly politician, but due to the fact that he will be concerned about his internal political conflicts. He is beneficial because he will not engage in confrontation with Russia, since other things are more important for him," Mikhail Remizov drew attention.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, recalled that the US has always considered Russia as a competitor on the world stage, and after Trump's election nothing has changed, despite his statements. "Of course, Washington will try to weaken Russia - that is why the anti-Russian sanctions are not canceled. It is difficult to hope for good neighborly relations between Russia and the United States," he stressed.
But the two countries have common problems, which can be solved only together. "As during the Second World War, it was a struggle against Nazi Germany and militarist Japan, today it is the struggle against international terrorism in the form of ISIS. Outside this there will always be a certain tension in these relations, so we should not hope that this tension will weaken after Trump's election," Victor Litovkin believes.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies, Sergei Markov, said that the statement of Mattis does not necessarily portend a new round of confrontation, but rather pursues a different purpose. "Mattis is trying to calm down his NATO partners, as well as the US Congress, who fear that the new administration will start to give up its positions," he explained.
That is why, according to Markov, Washington now constantly emphasizes that it is cooperating with Russia, but from a position of strength. "At the same time today a meeting between the Chief of the Russian General Staff and his US counterpart will be held in Baku, where they will discuss issues of cooperation in the fight against ISIS, as well as improving of ties interrupted during Barack Obama's rule. It is the interaction with the position of cooperation," the director of the Institute of Political Studies stressed, adding that the statement of Mattis from 'the position of strength', apparently, should be perceived as 'not from a position of weakness'.
However, the analyst pointed out, we should not completely exclude the possibility that "Trump can continue Obama's insane policy of the war with Russia."