Having inflated the scandal around the “Russian trace” in the 2016 presidential election, the Americans have driven themselves into a political and psychological impasse, from which they will have to get out by themselves, writes Valdai Club expert Sergei Samuilov. Only then will Trump get a certain freedom of action toward Russia and the opportunity to begin some kind of constructive interaction with Moscow.
What are the immediate prospects for the US-Russian relations? Most likely, nothing positive will happen during the next year. The anti-Russia hysteria promoted by Democrats and liberal media in the US since the summer of 2016 about the supposed “collusion” between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin created an atmosphere of intolerance in Washington, and contacts between high-ranking US officials and Russian representatives began to be considered national betrayal.
Although numerous governmental investigative bodies, which have been searching for evidence of “collusion” since March 2017 have found nothing, the paranoid anti-Russia passions in the United States’ political elite have not calmed down. Trump’s behavior at the APEC summit in Vietnam is convincing evidence of this. He declined the initial plan to hold full-format talks with the Russian president precisely because of the fears of new attacks from his numerous opponents. The maximum, which was achieved “on the sidelines of the summit,” was a joint statement on Syria and the intention to finish off ISIS, which is good in itself.
Since late October 2017, relations between Republicans and Democrats in the Congress have sharply deteriorated. In particular, Republicans in both houses launched investigation of the uranium deal with Russia, concluded in 2010 under Barack Obama. They believe that 20% of US uranium mines fell “under Putin’s control.” Investigations are directly aimed at discrediting former State Secretary Hillary Clinton and the zealous special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who was then head of the FBI. Both will be invited to Congress to testify under oath. And Russia within the framework of these investigations again looks as the “bad state.”
Trump has already learned a lot as a politician. He has refused to grapple “with the Washington swamp,” that is to limit the power of the Washington establishment. He demonstrated that he is able to act tough against Russia, contrary to his convictions, when he signed an anti-Russia law in early August. And most importantly, the Republicans saw that there was no “collusion” with Putin.
On the other hand, the liberal US media continue to inflate and exaggerate the compromising materials produced by the Mueller team, which have nothing to do with the 2016 election campaign, while keeping silent about the investigations in the Congress against him and Hillary Clinton.
It seems that in the current situation the Republicans will not allow Trump to be removed from power as a result of impeachment even if Mueller tries to accuse him of “obstructing the administration of justice” due to the dismissal of James Comey from the post of FBI director in May 2017. The Republican-controlled Legal Committee of the House of Representatives which should approve accusations against the president, will simply not do this, because it is conducting, along with other committees, the investigation of the “uranium deal.”
In a situation like this, the Russian diplomacy should be patient and wait for investigations regarding the “Russian trace” to come to ought, and the anti-Russian passions in Washington to subside. By self-intimidation, Americans have driven themselves into a political and psychological impasse, from which they will have to get out by themselves. Only then will Trump have a certain freedom of action toward Russia and the opportunity to begin some kind of constructive interaction with Moscow.