Tillerson has crafted a three-point framework for future US-Russia relations that takes a narrow view of what can be achieved between the former Cold War adversaries, but seeks a constructive working relationship with Putin on a limited set of issues.
“Right now, US-Russia relations are in the gutter. We want to make sure it doesn’t flush into the sewer,” a senior State Department official familiar with the framework commented.
The first pillar of the framework, a US official said, is to convey to Moscow that aggressive actions against the United States are a losing proposition that will be counterproductive for both sides. When Russia takes bold actions against American interests, such as sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan or harassing US diplomats in Moscow, Washington will push back.
The second pillar is to engage on issues that are of strategic interest to the United States, including the long-running civil war in Syria, North Korea's rapidly developing nuclear weapons program, and cybersecurity and cyberespionage, a US official said. Tillerson wants to reverse Moscow’s recent boost in trade with North Korea following some modest success in getting China to ban imports of coal from the rogue nation. He is seeking better coordination with Russia in Syria against ISIS, although it is unclear how that might be achieved. The two Cold War foes also maintain an increasingly sophisticated arsenal of cyberweapons, but lack a mutual understanding of what’s fair game and what isn’t.
The third pillar of Tillerson’s framework emphasizes the importance of "strategic stability" with Russia, an ambiguous umbrella term that encompasses a range of long-term mutual geopolitical goals.
“The framework is similar to a four-point strategy for dealing with Russia that the Obama administration created in 2015, after the Ukraine crisis upended efforts to “reset” relations with the Kremlin,” Steven Pifer, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, said.
Earlier it was reported that President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will hold a number of important meetings with the US leaders during his working visit to the Washington. During the visit Poroshenko will hold a meeting with US President Donald Trump, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the high officials of the US Department of Defense, Trade and Energy.