Wait and See: America’s Russian Policy

The atmosphere in wintry Moscow has been heating up and not from leaking pipes. The President has his hands full at home. What he could do without is something dramatically unexpected abroad – likely as not from Turkey. Edgy that the Biden people will want to save the Kurds at Turkish expense, Ankara realises that it may have to cuddle up to Israel as an insurance policy. The only way Turkey can get back into bed with Israel is to ditch Hamas, and that would really shift the ground in the Near East. For Russian coverage, see Nezavisimaya gazeta:

28.01.2021 20:27:00

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 Игорь Субботин

So one initial problem for a chess player in foreign policy like Vladimir Putin is not that US policy changes but that others change policy in anticipation of what they expect from Washington DC. This is like playing chess with multiple opponents on just one board. War gaming this is impossibly complicated.

The boring and predictable conversation with President Biden was not such as to arouse alarm even if CNN thought it wonderful because it was not Trump. Taking a sedative might have been as exciting. Even US willingness to maintain the status quo on intercontinental nuclear weapons was nothing to write home about. Trump would probably have done this at the last minute anyway had he been re-elected, and then taken the heat from the Democrats for appeasing Putin. In US politics it is not about what is done so much as who is doing it.

No one seriously thinks the new White House has any idea about Russia policy – or indeed much else – other than winding the clock back to when Obama last sat in the White House. And he had nowhere to go on Russia. So the Russians are sensibly looking at those likely actually to formulate policy such as the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whose family has never wandered far from the diplomatic scene, which means he grew up and lives among those used to making deals and splitting the difference.

At Komsomol’skaya pravda Aleksei Osipov assesses Blinken. The title of his article suggests that Russia will face a hardliner in favour of the strongest punitive measures. That certainly gets the reader’s attention. But then Osipov quotes Blinken in 2017 effectively apologising for US mistreatment of Russia in the 1990’s by expanding NATO.

Baffling. The obvious question is whether or not, in the words of the Book of Common Prayer, Blinken still feels the United States is bound by the chains of its sins.

27 января 2021 5:51
Госсекретарем США утверждён сторонник максимально жестких мер против России
Внешнеполитическое ведомство возглавил Энтони Блинкен

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