Staunton, January 17 – In assessing Vladimir Putin’s influence over Donald Trump, many focus on reports about kompromat sexual or financial or Moscow’s role in last year’s US elections. But a Moscow newspaper today points to what may be an even greater source of this sway: the shift in bilateral relations from a politics of values to a politics of making deals.
When values informed the relationship between Moscow and Washington, each side had reasons both to reach agreements and also to walk away from any that didn’t meet those values; but now, first in Russia and now in the US, there are two leaders who approach talks looking for deals in the first instance rather than the promotion of anything but naked interest.
And in this brave new world, the one who wants or needs an agreement more – and in this case, it is almost certainly the incoming president given his commitment to be seen making deals – is at a disadvantage relative to the one, Vladimir Putin, who also wants deals but who knows that his opposite number wants them more desperately and quickly than he.
That conclusion is suggested by an editorial in today’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta” entitled “The Politics of Deals in Place of the Politics of Values” in which the paper seeks to explain why Russia is so hopeful that it will get more of what it wants when Trump takes office (ng.ru/editorial/2017-01-17/2_6904_red.html