The Return of Diplomacy?
Trump 2.0: What Can We Expect from US Foreign Policy after the Elections?

What might US foreign policy look like during Donald Trump's second term? It is obvious that the American president will act in American interests. Despite the arguments that Trump will end the Ukrainian crisis within 24 hours, that the Democrats and Joe Biden are on the wrong path, the last thing Trump will be ready to do is to abandon any foreign policy instrument that is useful for the United States, as it is Ukraine.

Ukraine is a large investment of American resources, attention, energy, symbolic capital, which the United States will not allow to immediately “collapse” without exchanging it for something valuable, even more valuable. Can the United States offer Russia anything in this trade? I highly doubt it. Unfortunately, Donald Trump's first term showed that there was little platform for deep and meaningful negotiations that would produce lasting results. I am particularly convinced of this because there is no guarantee that any agreement with a possible future Trump administration will survive the end of that administration. We've seen this in some other major foreign policy situations in the past. 

An article published in Foreign Affairs by former Trump national security adviser Robert O'Brien lifts the curtain on the possible thinking of the Republican White House team in 2025. The article does not give a particularly prominent place to Russia; China is described in greater detail with grotesque embellishments, as well as the situation in the Middle East with a central focus on Iran. In this context, Ukraine and Russia account for a tenth of the attention that Beijing and Tehran get.
The Return of Diplomacy?
Structural Confrontation: Why the Conflict Between Russia and the US Will Persist Beyond the Ukraine Crisis
Andrey Sushentsov
It is essential to view the current state of Russian-American relations as a prolonged standoff that is likely to continue even after the US realises that Ukraine is no longer a significant instrument in its foreign policy. Rather, the US will likely shift its focus to another country that is willing to sacrifice its interests and act as a frontline state in the confrontation with Russia, writes Andrey Sushentsov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Apparently, this is the least developed part of the foreign policy program of the team that may come to the White House with Trump. However, the article contains a truly sobering passage: “Trump would continue to supply lethal aid to Ukraine at the expense of European countries and at the same time maintain room for maneuver in diplomatic relations with Russia, unsettling Moscow with its unpredictability... If Europe wants to show, that it is serious about defending Ukraine, it should immediately admit the country into the EU, abandoning the standard bureaucratic accession procedure. Such a step would send a strong signal to Putin: the West will not cede Ukraine to Russia.”

I doubt that American foreign policy interests in this crisis can imply an unconditional surrender of positions now concentrated not only in Ukraine, but throughout the entire circuit of allies that support Ukraine, supplies it with finances, weapons, intelligence data, trains Ukrainian military personnel, transfers from their own arsenals are sometimes the latest types of valuable weapons.

This large support group may put under question the wisdom of its investment in the multi-year Ukrainian project if Washington changes its position in this crisis.

For this reason, I almost rule out that Trump will be ready to take decisive steps in favor of Russian interests.

I believe that Russia's interest is rooted in the disruption of the American foreign policy process in the upcoming presidential election. This could happen as a result of the victory of one of the candidates, the purity of which surely will be doubted by a large number of voters, and the establishment will feel quite vulnerable. Or the elections will not give a definite result and the counting of votes will be delayed, as we saw in 2000, when the Supreme Court ultimately determined the winner. All scenarios will be for American allies - for the large group of countries that have signed up as participants in the Ukrainian crisis, a symptom that the disorganisation of the American political process threatens not only American goals and interests in different parts of the world, but also the main asset that the United States still possess, in the eyes of their allies, an asset of trust. Many actions of US allies are not described by common sense and logic: they are based on trust. They believe that the United States knows better how to behave in these conditions, what resources need to be spent on achieving a strategic goal, how long this campaign can be. If the U.S. elections give a result that suddenly creates confusion, then the key thing will suffer - trust. I believe that if  Russia can influence this, then it is reasonable to think about it.
Modern Diplomacy
Would The Ukraine Crisis be Limited to Ukraine’s Territory?
Andrey Sushentsov
What are the prospects of the current ever-escalating crisis? While historical events are often characterised as continuous experiments, a resemblance can be observed between the Korean War and the ongoing crisis. The Korean War involved a significant deployment of American forces, resulting in substantial casualties with approximately 40,000 deaths. Notably, other allies were involved, with China and the Soviet Union supporting the North Korean side.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.