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It seems that the American administration suddenly had a syndrome of "split" consciousness. Last year Washington rejected all attempts by the Kremlin to reconcile. There are two plans for the restoration of friendship with the United States, proposed by Moscow. In March 2017, the Kremlin tried to seduce the White House with an enchanting program to create the Moscow-Washington axis, which presupposed "special consultations" on the war in Afghanistan, the situation in Ukraine (of course, without the participation of Ukrainians), the Iranian nuclear deal and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. American security officials were invited to discuss with the Russian partners "mutual interest" issues. Moscow was ready for a new era in relations with the US and, apparently, in the Kremlin they were discouraged when Washington rejected this initiative. But how could Donald Trump support it? Especially after Russian hooliganism became apparent during the American elections. If Trump goes to discuss the Kremlin's ideas - he would have certainly fallen under the charge of high treason.
Obviously, Russian strategists did not realize how much the Americans were indignant of Kremlin’s pranks, because in July Moscow once again tried to reconcile, offering the White House a pact "on mutual non-interference." Again they lost: instead of supporting the pact in Washington, Americans issued new sanctions and started preparing a "Kremlin list.
And at the moment when the Kremlin expects a new slap in the face, Washington agreed to resume dialogue with Moscow. In the days of Barack Obama, the highest US military was forbidden to meet with Russian counterparts. So, General Philip Breedlaw, while in command of the armed forces of NATO, had no right to communicate with the Russians. But the successor, General Curtis Scaparotti, in January, met with the chief of the Russian General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov. Vladislav Surkov and Kurt Volker will continue to seek a way out of the conflict in Donbas. Thomas Shannon, the third person in the State Department, will discuss rocket weapons issues with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Does this mean that Washington is ready to start a new "reset"? No, it does not mean it. The resumption of the dialogue with Moscow does not prevent Prosecutor Richard Muller from seeking interrogation of President Trump to find out the reason for his sympathy for President Putin. In turn, Trump is forced at the insistence of his cabinet to approve the sending of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The functionaries of the Democratic Party have published the report "Putin's asymmetric attack on democracy in Russia and Europe: consequences for national security in the United States," openly say that deterring Russia is their strategic task.
The mood in Europe is changing. One of the most influential commissioners of the European Union, Gunther Oettinger, proves that he did nothing wrong when he communicated with German businessman Klaus Mangold, a lobbyist for Russian interests, and said nothing in the course of his meetings with representatives of Gazprom in 2012-2014. In short, Oettinger should justify himself about his contacts with those who deal with Moscow! This is a new reality. The Brussels bureaucrats, who were always ready to be friends with Russia, are now worried about being not suspected of having links with Russians.
European politicians and officials, following the Americans, will now try to protect themselves from any suspicions of sympathy, or partnership (God forbid!) with Moscow. For this it is necessary not to meet with Russians without witnesses, not to tell them something and not to deal with them. And then you will have to report to the investigative authorities or explain it to the journalists who are everywhere looking for the "Russian trace". Russia becomes a symbol of trouble that must be avoided. Having relations with Russians means for the western politicians to ruin their reputation.
It's not a matter of Western reaction to the repressive nature of Russian power. China is not less authoritarian, but Chinese are valued and welcomed in the West. No wonder the French president Emmanuel Macron, reflecting on a new vector for Europe, went to China with a proposal for cooperation. It's about the behavior of Russia on the international stage, in Russian hooliganism and inadequacy. But, perhaps, the Kremlin's lies and indifference to the way this lies is perceived finally became the reason why the Western establishment lost their temper.
But there was a time! Cooperation between the Western and Russian elites brought dividends to both sides. But today it turned out that the Western partners have to pay for this pleasure. Recently, Deutsche Bank was forced to pay a $ 425 million fine to financial regulators in New York for helping its Russian clients launder $10 billion. Earlier, Siemens and Daimler AG were in corruption scandals for paying fines to US controllers for bribing Russian officials.
After a long swing, the Western community begins to seek an answer to the challenge that Russia has become. Having perceived the Western softness as the norm and trying to shake liberal democracies from within, the Kremlin provoked an inevitable answer. "Collective West" forms new rules of the game with Russia, which threaten to destroy such a successful model of the survival of the autocracy. No, Russia is not threatened by isolation from the West, nor by a rigid confrontation. The West is not going to drive the Kremlin into a corner. The West has no desire to bring down the Russian regime: what for is this headache? For the Kremlin, everything is much worse: depriving Russia of the modernization and financial resources, the West leaves for Russia just one scenario - decay.
But it is unlikely that the Russian elite, which does not care for the degradation of the country, can breathe a sigh of relief. Instead of the law in Russia, the Russian elite will get the law in the Western community. But here the question arises: how will Western political institutions take advantage of the vulnerability of the Russian ruling class, putting it before the threat of becoming an object of permanent investigation? After all, the West is not at all obliged to take care of Russia's national interests, since its elite has become anti-national. What obligations will be assumed by representatives of the Russian ruling class, pinned to the wall by Western justice? Yes, they will remain loyal to Putin, many believe. Oh really? In any case, an external pressure factor is formed, which will influence both the Russian political scene and the degree of loyalty of the political class to the Kremlin.
This is the result of the Kremlin's foreign policy. Instead of securing for itself the role of a great power and a member of the world's "concert of nations," Russia has turned out to be a lonely state. Anyone runs away, not so much out of fear, as long as trying to avoid filth and ... out of disgust. Russia has become a state which ruling class has been humiliatingly dependent on what choice will be made by Western bodies that assess its behavior. But the truth is incomprehensible: 72% of Russians believe that Russia remains a "great power". What is it - naivety or atrophy of the brain?
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