Original by Dmitriy Evstafiyev published Rambler News; translation by J.Hawk
If one were to attempt to sum up the main message and the general mood of the recent statements by the President-Elect Donald Trump and State Secretary nominee Rex Tillerson, one must not for a minute forget about the anti-Trump and anti-Russia hysteria organized even as curtains close on Barack Obama’s final term. When it comes to this hysteria’s intensity, the US has not experienced anything like this since probably the era of McCarthy at the peak of the Cold War. Currently the danger lies in that anti-Trump rhetoric is beginning to merge with the anti-Russian one.
In this respect, neither Trump nor, especially, his team cannot be entirely unaffected by this extremely negative information background. No matter what they say, no matter how they demonstrate their independence from the media, in reality they are under the media’s influence and forced to correct their statements. Which both politicians proved during their subsequent appearances. All of their recent statements are a reply to external irritants rather than presentation of strategic plans. Such plans do not yet exist.
Moreover it is perfectly evident that, in spite of its amateurishness, the leak of information about the supposed possession by Russian secret services compromising information on Trump was nevertheless painful for the president-elect. Not least because the leak is consistent with the image painted in the mind of the average American burgher who has an anti-Trump mindset. Naturally, Obama’s successor could not help but react and, as the large press conference showed, he reacted quite well. But, I’ll say this again, the whole story demonstrated to what extent the elected president is vulnerable to an information war by the largest US media.
As far as Tillerson’s statements are concerned, it would be naive to believe he would start waving the Russian flag right at the confirmation hearings. If one examines them without unnecessary illusions, one can’t help but notice a certain shift. Thus the question of Russia’s sovereignty of Crimea was no longer being discussed from the “it won’t be because it can’t be” position. Instead the State Secretary nominee named conditions under which Washington would be able to recognize the peninsula as part of the Russian Federation.
One must also keep in mind that any serious changes in US foreign policy will begin not right after January 20, when Trump is inaugurated, but rather after 6-8 months or perhaps even a year. The main issue right now is personnel changes. During this process the new president will have to be ready to face pressure by the media which won’t pass up an opportunity to organize leaks concerning the head of state’s domestic and foreign policies.
One final thing. Let’s not forget that Trump’s task is not establishing friendly relations with Russia. “We’ll either get along or we won’t”—he stated this with extreme directness, implying that the getting along will be done on his, Donald Trump’s, terms. And he, as we know, has a mandate to “make America great again.” Under the current conditions that task can only be accomplished at the expense of other countries, since the US has lost the internal driver of its “greatness” over the last 25 years.
Therefore we should stop perceiving the Republican billionaire as a nice guy with whom we’ll naturally get along. There is nothing inevitable about good relations between Washington and Moscow, and there can’t be. With that in mind, we are entering a very turbulent era in the Russia-US relations, and a far less predictable one than during the Obama Administration.