The theme of Russia has turned into some kind of obsession, says renowned expert Eugene Rumer. For the United States is characterized by a real "national obsession with Russia." Rarely does a day pass without multicolumn comments and many hours of airtime devoted to the next Russian offense.
Eugene Rumer - Bachelor of Arts (Boston University), Master of Arts (Georgetown University), Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He has extensive experience in expert organizations and the government: from 1993 to 1996, he worked for the Rand Rand Brain Trust in Santa Monica and Moscow, later held a position in the Department of Political Planning of the US Department of State and Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. under the National Security Council. In 2000, Mr. Rumer became Art. researcher, and then director of research and acting director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the University of National Defense. At the beginning of 2010, he became a National Intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia. Today, Mr. Rumer is a senior fellow and director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
An article by Eugene Rumer on “national obsession with Russia” was published in a large edition. Los Angeles Times.
The expert recalls that the US government imposed sanctions against Russia. The White House sent troops to the European borders of Russia. Washington sent weapon Ukraine, and previously sent it to Georgia. Soon “even more sanctions” will touch the “Russian elite,” namely, those who “support President Vladimir Putin.”
At the same time, the "national conversation" in the United States about Russia, that is, about what Washington wants to achieve from the Russians, how to achieve the goals of the disputes, "is hardly advanced." And the longer the hysteria continues, the more difficult it will be to conduct this conversation, the analyst believes.
“We know that the Russian government and its agents interfered in our presidential election in 2016. The intelligence community has confirmed this, and there is a lot of indirect evidence of the Kremlin’s intentions and actions: the campaign against Clinton, the “protramp” bias of the Russian state-sponsored media, including the television network “RT”, which was registered as a foreign agent by the US government; Wikileaks publications about information stolen from employees of the Clinton campaign; Putin’s positive comments on the then candidate Donald Trump and his widely-known dislike for Hillary Clinton, ”the expert lists. He further recalls the "numerous contacts between Trump's supporters and various Russian leaders." Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former national security adviser Michael Flynn are only Trump's most famous people who "had contacts with representatives of Russia."
The US media “deserve respect for covering Trump’s campaign and presidency,” the author believes, but much of what is known today has been known for almost a whole year. Details have added little to the overall picture.
But America’s understanding of the other (“possibly more important aspects”) of Russia's interference in the 2016 elections of the year “barely advanced,” Rumer notes.
“In truth, we do not know what the actual effect of all this Russian intervention in our elections is. To find out, we will need to conduct a comprehensive survey of all those who voted, and all who did not vote, ”the author shows the unsolvability of the problem. And even if such a poll were possible, it would still be difficult to get an accurate picture of the mood of voters in 2016. In general, one can hardly get an answer.
As a result, the role of Russia is not clear. Would H. Clinton be able to defeat “vulgar, dishonest, hating women, an ignorant political neophyte who campaigned full of racism, xenophobia, and clearly unrealizable promises, all of which were widely reported in the media during the 2016 year”? Perhaps the Russian intervention really did not make a big difference in the election results.
It is even impossible to understand whether Americans are better prepared today than a year ago to confront “future interference” in elections.
Public discourse, it seems, did not become a year later "more impenetrable" for "fake and distorted news."
In countering all this, Rumer sees a "long-term goal." But how to achieve it? The road to it requires a “better education” and a much more thorough national discussion. Its themes will be the “place in the world” of the United States, the role of Russia and Washington’s policy towards Moscow.
Americans should also understand what the new cold war with Russia is - after all, it has been going on after the Americans have called Russians “partners” for a full quarter of a century.
Russia does not leave the arena of struggle at all. This country does not die, as it was often repeated in the 1990-s and the beginning of the 2000-s, the author recalls. Its economy is not collapsing. Russian military power is also returning, and the Kremlin uses it "with skill and determination."
Russia is “an important actor on the world stage,” with its own “interests and opportunities,” which the US has yet to “fully appreciate,” the expert notes.
Putin is ready to be re-elected in March 2018 for another six years. Even if he leaves the political scene in 2024, the White House cannot rely on his successor to become a “friend” for America.
Several decades ago, the expert reminds further, when Russia was weak, it was "fashionable to think that Russia does not matter." It is clear that this is "no longer the case." This is what we should talk about in the United States at the national level. And the 2016 election let investigators do, sums up the author.
While this expert offers a topic for a “national conversation,” the company "Stratfor" already figured out how Russia will behave in 2018 year.
Moscow will look mainly to the east. According to Stratfor, several years of deteriorating relations with the United States and Europe are pushing Moscow to revise its priorities and strategies.
Therefore, in 2018, Moscow will focus on the Asia-Pacific region (APR), as well as the Middle East. The Kremlin will:
- continue to backstage to support North Korea with fuel supplies and trade relations;
- to cooperate with the PRC, including in the defense sphere, since it was Beijing that helped Moscow "weaken its economic dependence on the West";
- use its influence in the Middle East, obtained through victorious participation in the Syrian war. The Kremlin will try to influence foreign powers with interests in the Middle East in order not only to contain the threat of Islamic extremism, but also to gain leverage in negotiations with the West. In addition, the Russians want to expand access to the region’s energy and agricultural resources. Iran will play a special role in Russia's actions in the Middle East;
- to develop partnerships with some countries of North Africa (Egypt, Libya), seeking to undermine the US position there;
- To try to strengthen relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. However, Turkey will object both “against Russia's contacts with the Kurds,” and against Moscow’s readiness to cooperate with Ankara’s regional rivals. As for Saudi Arabia, its hostility with Iran will prevent Russia from joining the alliance with this Arab kingdom.
Thus, we note in conclusion that while prominent experts in the United States propose to discuss the “Western” topic of Russia, this topic itself has turned into an “Eastern” one. The more shouts towards Moscow, the more sanctions, the less “Western” will remain in Russia and the less positive the Kremlin will expect from the United States. This is an objective political and economic process, and there is no need to talk about anyone's isolation.
Barack Obama assured that Russia was “isolated” already in his rule, and its economy was “torn to shreds,” but the Americans still issue sanctions, and the Russian economy in the real sector has even grown up. According to Rosstat, according to the results of 2017, industrial production in the country has grown by 1% compared to 2016 of the year. The growth is insignificant, and yet it’s impossible to talk about a torn economy. That is why Washington is constantly working on some new sanctions. Obviously, according to American strategists, Russia is not only too much, it is also too tenacious.
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru