Moscow’s ‘Strange Joys’ over Trump Recall Its Equally Strange Ones about Obama in 2008, Portnikov Says
November 20 – Many in Russia and the West forget that the Kremlin welcomed Barack
Obama’s election in 2008 in much the same way that it has welcomed the election
of Donald Trump this year, as the rejection of Washington’s earlier approach
and as an opening of the possibility for new deals between Russia and the US,
Vitaly Portnikov says.
2008, the Kremlin celebrated the election of Obama as a rejection of the
hawkish policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and even more of the
anti-Russian position of the Republican candidate that year, John McCain.
Indeed, at that time, Moscow celebrated Obama’s victory as its own (7days.us/vitalij-portnikov-nechayannaya-radost-rossiya-i-tramp/).
commentators then, the Ukrainian commentator points out, were convinced that
Obama wanted to resolve all problems connected with Russia that had arisen
under his predecessor and they pointed to his ideas about “a reset” in
Moscow-Washington relations as evidence of this.
is certainly true that Obama came to office committed to “cooperation rather
than confrontation,” and that “after his election, he spoke about the need for
such cooperation and overcoming conflicts in practically the same way that Donald
Trump is speaking at the present time.”
was not the US that “worsened relations with Russia,” Portnikov continues. “It
was Russia which worsened relations with the United States. And now in Moscow
they are happy that the Obama era won’t continue just as they were happy eight
years ago that the era of Bush wouldn’t.”
is a very strange joy,” he says. “It is based on the naïve opinion that some
new administration can come to power in the US which will not defend the
interests of its own country and will decide that the personal interests of
Vladimir Putin are much more important than the interests of America.”
new US president by nature believes that he or she can do better than the ones
that went before. And that is true in foreign policy as well as in domestic
matters.But after being inaugurated,
the new president finds that things are not quite as simple as he or she may
have imagined earlier.
Portnikov continues, Moscow is accusing Obama of exactly the same sins it
earlier accused George W. Bush.And it
is “practically inevitable” that “tomorrow, [Russian outlets] will accuse Trump
in exactly the same way they accused Obama yesterday” because to defend
American interests, a president must increase the US role in the world.
both because of the nature of his office and the nature of his personality isn’t
going to be an exception to this pattern, Portnikov argues. Trump made that
clear in numerous statements during the campaign which both Russians and some
Americans now appear to have forgotten as well.
even if he wants good personal relations with Putin – and that may in fact be
true – Trump’s policies of promoting oil production in the US and inflicting
harm on the Chinese economy are going to work against Russia regardless of what
his current supporters in Moscow expect, the Ukrainian analyst says.
if oil prices fall to 25 to 30 US dollars a barrel, Putin will confront a
situation in which the US president will be his opponent whatever the Kremlin
leader may imagine. Moreover, Putin will somehow have to try to find a way to
reach agreement with his American counterpart who won’t have any good reason
for making concessions to him.