Successful politicians usually enjoy their fair share of luck along the way. With the election of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin received the luckiest break of all. Instead of continued isolation, the Russian president will get yet another reset, with several long-term goals – a recognized zone of influence, non-interference in domestic affairs, an equal relationship with the United States – within his grasp.
The standard policy prescription for Washington’s dealings with Russia is situational: Agree to disagree on certain issues, but try to find areas where cooperation is possible.
Russia’s search for greater international influence and respect continued its downward spiral this summer. Its Olympic experience was spoiled by charges of doping. Accusations of hacking dragged it into the U.S. presidential campaign, and military tensions over Ukraine and Syria showed no sign of abetting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin strides the world as the master tactician. In Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria, he seized the initiative and left his adversaries flatfooted and guessing as to his ultimate intentions.
So far, the Russian people have acted more calmly than their leaders.
President Barack Obama’s U.N. speech opens up the possibility of creating some daylight between the United States and the EU sanction programs against Russia.
Provisional governments have one essential task: restore legitimate rule.
Low expectations surround the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5-6.