Election 2020 U.S. Foreign Policy Forum
Projection of US elections on foreign policy: expert opinions
American analysts predict no warming in Washington for Moscow
While the results of the presidential elections are being summed up in the United States, the rest of the world is trying to understand what the US foreign policy will be like in a situation when the future of power in Washington is uncertain. Moscow is also trying to understand this, refraining from evaluative statements at all levels related to decision-making in international affairs..
Both the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov and the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova over the past two days were extremely cautious in their comments on the development of the electoral drama in the United States – the essence of their comments was that there would be no comments yet.
What would Russia like to achieve from the United States at this moment, and what might be the response of American politicians to signals from Moscow? The Voice of America Russian Service spoke with leading Russian experts in the United States to get answers to these questions..
Angela Stent (Angela Stent), director of the Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Georgetown University, is confident that the Kremlin will try to renew the START-3 treaty, which expires next February, in any case: “I think that among the tasks that the Kremlin and The Russian government would like to decide in relations with Washington, regardless of who wins this election, the first is the extension of the START-3 Treaty – the main document in the field of strategic arms control. Russia would definitely like to settle this. This need will force her leadership to contact any politician who will become the next US President after the final announcement of the results in order to resolve this issue. “.
Angela Stent notes that Russia is not without grim pleasure watching the split in American society that manifested itself during these presidential elections: “I follow the comments in Russia about what is happening, and immediately the German word Schadenfreude – schadenfreude – comes to mind. With this gloating glee, observers in the Russian media say that, they say, look at the confusion in America. I also think that at this time the United States is especially vulnerable to external influence in the sense of adding fuel to the fire by external forces and using the contradictions that we now see to strengthen them “.
A similar opinion is shared by a professor of political science at the University of Los Angeles. Daniel Treisman (Daniel Treisman) – The time of discord in the United States, he said, can be used by America’s rivals. However, the position of the current government in Washington is unlikely to change with regard to Russia, the scientist is convinced:
“I think that until January, until the next US president is inaugurated, Washington will not have any consistent foreign policy. This gives states like Russia, China or Iran the opportunity to take advantage of the political rift in our country. We must be prepared for various opportunistic leaders to use this time for actions that they would not have dared to undertake in a time of greater unity in US power. On the other hand, Putin has succeeded in what no one else has succeeded – to unite Republicans and Democrats, at least with regard to Russia. Both parties are in favor of tough sanctions, and these sanctions are unlikely to be eased even during this turbulent period. “.
Executive Director of the Institute of Contemporary World Relations in Washington Gregory Phifer (Gregory Feifer) suggests that the US legislature may become more cohesive in its view of Russia after the presidential elections:
“I think that before we saw in Congress a somewhat bipartisan approach to Russia. If Biden wins, then the Republicans in Congress, who will apparently retain control of the Senate, will, of course, interfere with his presidency, but not on foreign policy issues. In general, the Americans are now not very concerned with foreign policy issues, and this is not the platform on which the Republicans went to these elections. Also, for republican politicians and their electorate, it is rather confusing situation when their current president on foreign policy issues is in complete contradiction with what this party stands for. Therefore, it will be easier for Biden in matters of foreign policy: among the Republicans now there are enough of those who consider Russia a threat, and the scattered voices of supporters of this point of view in the Senate and the House of Representatives may become stronger “.
Angela Stent insists that in any case, diplomatic communication with Moscow should be restored – this will help to avoid aggravations due to misunderstanding of each other: “Our bilateral agenda consists of a very small number of items requiring immediate resolution. And this points to a real problem – it lies in the fact that relations between the two countries were almost cut off, it began under Obama and continued under Trump. And the challenge for the next US administration, whoever wins, will be to reopen these channels of communication and rewrite this agenda for US-Russian relations to move them forward. “.
But communications with Russia, Angela Stent continues, should be expressed in the form of communication between diplomats, and not interviews with Russian state media, which US officials themselves call propaganda and disinformation agencies. An expert from Georgetown University was surprised that right before election day, people close to the president, including ex-mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani, gave an interview to RT (formerly Russia Today):
“As far as Mr. Giuliani’s motivation for this interview is concerned, I think he was counting on the fact that there are enough Americans who watch RT so that he could use this channel and speak again about the alleged corruption cases of Hunter Biden.”.
At the same time, Daniel Treisman believes that the statements of officials of the current administration that there was no obvious interference from other countries in this presidential election in the United States are sufficiently substantiated:
“We have not heard reports of serious foreign interference in these elections, which is in stark contrast to both the 2016 campaign and the 2018 midterm elections. I don’t know if this was due to the fact that foreign influence in this case was successfully prevented, or because in the United States itself, people are more focused on internal conflicts. I think that many of those who study social media, the Internet and attempts at political interference using information technology have come to the conclusion that in fact, polarization within the United States and fake news generated within the United States itself are much more significant than attempts to influence outside “.
According to a professor at the University of Los Angeles, the internal problems of the United States are a much more serious reason for the split in society than the actions of external players:
“These elections made it clear that, firstly, Trump’s victory in his first election was not an accident, it was not just a reaction to the fact that the Democrats then nominated a weak candidate. We see that in this election, the results of both candidates are very close, and that Trump can again pass. This means that Trump has deep support in the United States. And secondly, we see that outsiders cannot be blamed for the conflict that broke out around these elections – it is happening precisely on our soil, and the maximum that these external players can do is, perhaps, exacerbate it and only a little to inflate the problems that actually have deep local roots “.
Gregory Phifer also says that the depth of the split in American society is shocking: “Those voting results, which have already been counted, show that after four years of Trump’s presidency, our country is more divided than ever. Many people relied on polls that showed Biden’s leadership in this campaign. If Trump does win, he will be very encouraged by his result and inspired to continue the policies he pursued in his first term. Most likely, this may affect the decisions taken by the State Department and the Ministry of Finance. To what extent Trump will succeed in this, it is unclear if the current alignment in Congress will continue, but he will insist on his foreign policy approaches even more “.
Reporter for the Russian Service «Voices of America» in Moscow. Collaborates with «Voice of America» since 2012. For a long time he worked as a correspondent and presenter of programs in the Russian service of the BBC and «Radio Liberty». Specialization – international relations, politics and legislation, human rights.
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