Sunday, February 05, 2017

Is US Rapprochement with Russia Possible?

Is US Rapprochement with Russia Possible?

by Stephen Lendman

After a century of US hostility, except for time-out during WW II to defeat Nazism, it takes a giant leap of faith to think Trump, a businessman making his first foray into politics, can achieve what none of his predecessors accomplished since Woodrow Wilson’s era.

Virtually the entire Congress, media scoundrels, and dominant public opinion are anti-Russia. Even if Trump is sincere, for whatever reasons, he’s up against these forces opposing rapprochement.

His hostility toward China, Iran, Venezuela and perhaps other Russian allies makes improved relations all the harder to achieve, maybe impossible.

Still it’s encouraging to hear him tell lunatic fringe Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that America has “a lot of killers,” adding “do you think our country is so innocent?” 

He respects Vladimir Putin, whether or not able to get along with him, saying “(h)e is the leader of his country.” 

“I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS - which is a major fight - and the Islamic terrorism all over the world, that’s a good thing.”

“Will I get along with him? I have no idea,” he added - most certainly if he’ll treat Putin as respectfully as Russia’s president will surely treat him.

Throughout the campaign, Trump spoke favorably about Putin, hoping he’ll get along well with Russia’s leader, calling US/Russia relations “horrible.”

Commenting on the enormous damage done during Obama’s tenure, Sergey Lavrov explained a major effort is needed to step back from the brink.

It’s up to Washington, not Russia, he explained. Moscow’s good faith efforts for better relations were undermined throughout most of Obama’s time in office. 

Lavrov, like Putin and other Russian officials, is under no illusions about cordial bilateral relations replacing adversarial ones under Trump.

Still, he’s hopeful for improvement. It’s hard for things getting worse other than confrontation erupting between both countries, a scenario risking nuclear war if occurs.

“(W)e are ready to go our part of the way for the recovery of our relations with the United States. Their degradation in recent years is not our fault but a result of purposeful actions of the previous administration in Washington,” Lavrov explained. 

“For our part, we have always stayed open to development of predictable cooperation, based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interests,” - notions Washington consistently rejects.

“We realize that serious efforts from both sides are required to overcome the severe damage done to our relations under Barack Obama,” Lavrov added. 

“It’s probably still too early to talk about how work on specific issues will go with the (Trump) Republican team. It is necessary to wait until the key officials of the new administration feel comfortable in their seats and clarify their foreign policy priorities. After that it will be possible to draw conclusions for the future.”

About the best to be hoped for is America stepping back from the brink, curbing its overt hostility toward Russia, ceasing to make baseless accusations, cooperating in some ways.

But if Washington treats Russia’s key allies harshly, all bets are off for improved bilateral relations - the way things seem to be going so far.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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