If Trump Hands Over Ukraine, He Will Make Russia Great Again
By: Pavel Felgenhauer
Moscow may agree to substantially increase its military deployment in the Middle East to fight jihadist radicals together with the US, according to independent military columnist Aleksandr Golts (Ej2015.ru, January 30). Of course such a costly deployment would be made in the understanding that Russian forces stay permanently in newly established bases to dramatically enhance Russian influence in the oil-rich region.
Trump seems to offer a unique opportunity to restore Russia as a great Euro-Asian empire and “make it great again.” Karaganov believes the US liberal elite will fight Trump and his pro-Russian policies using any means, including a possible assassination. As such, Karaganov has suggested that the White House should enhance Trump’s personal security detail (Aif.ru, January 18).
In the proposed deal with Trump, Moscow seems to be offering little of substance in exchange for the US renouncing Ukraine and Crimea, all of the post-Soviet space and more. Still, plenty in Russia apparently believe such a deal is possible because Moscow thinks it is negotiating from a position of substantial strength. Trump and his team, meanwhile, are seen as weak and under life-threatening internal and external pressure to show at least some foreign policy success. Therefore, Moscow believes Washington may settle to give away Ukraine and Moldova into Russian servitude because the Trump White House does not care much about those far-off, unstable and impoverished places. The only serious threat, as seen from Moscow, is that Trump may be so weak politically and his White House team so incompetent that his administration might prematurely collapse or he could even be impeached. Some voices inside Russia are, therefore, advising Putin to move swiftly and aggressively to secure the country’s vital interests before Trump implodes and to avoid tying himself and Russia too closely to the White House so as not to be engulfed by its potential eventual disgrace (Mk.ru, February 1).-