Putin-Trump Meeting Won’t Result in Dramatic Changes on Ukraine Many Fear and Some Hope, Shevtsova Says
June 22 – Vladimir Putin has achieved a major goal with plans for a summit
between him and US President Donald Trump in Europe sometime in July now going
forward. That meeting effectively ends the international isolation the Kremlin
leader has experienced since he invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea.
goes into the meeting, Liliya Shevtsova says, with great expectations given the
willingness of many European leaders to come to him, their anger at Trump over
trade and the Iran agreement, and the apparently increasing fatigue many in the
West feel about the current hard line against Russian aggression (svoboda.org/a/29308048.html).
led to hopes among Putin and his supporters for some kind of “grand bargain” or
“big deal” with Trump that will involve forcing Ukraine to accept Russian
conditions and ending Western sanctions on Russia, steps that not surprisingly
many in Ukraine and in the West clearly fear, the Russian analyst continues.
these hopes and these fears are almost certainly misplaced, Shevtsova says. “The
readiness of the West for dialogue with Moscow does not meet retreat.” Some governments
like those of Hungary and the Czech Republic have cozied up to Putin, but
nonetheless, they continue to observe the sanctions regime against Russia.”
can call as often as he likes for the return of Russia to the Seven and call
Crimea Russian because they speak Russian there,” Shevtsova argues, “but his
administration is creating around Russia a cordon sanitaire. More than that,
the American elite has consolidated on an anti-Russian basis, largely because
it has not found any other basis for doing so.”
leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron may trade “compliments” with
Putin, “but both reaffirm for those who may not understand: Europe will not lift
the sanctions on Russia until there is progress on fulfilling the Minsk
agreement son Ukraine.” And the G-7 has even agreed to create a rapid reaction
force to be able to counter Moscow.
same time, she says, it is the height of naivete to think that Trump will make
a final break with Europe and seek friendship only with Russia. That isn’t
going to happen: the Transatlantic “family” has had many disputes, but the
community “has survived all the storms.” It is implausible to think that will
change, however unpredictable Trump likes to be.
US president who prides himself as a deal maker would have to be offered
something tangible to agree to any major change on his part. Putin has little
to offer, and while some might be satisfied with promises of future action as
was the case after Trump’s Singapore meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un,
that won’t cut it in this case.
word,” Shevtsova says, “the Ukrainian issue remains for the West a kind of ‘red
line’” which isn’t going to be crossed. This isn’t because of Western sympathy
for Ukraine but because “the surrender of Ukraine would be a recognition by
Europe of its own powerlessness” and its leaders won’t allow “the American leviathan
to do so either.
attempting to keep Ukraine from flight to Europe,” she continues, “Russia has
buried the European vector of its development. How could one be a European
country if one tried to keep one’s neighbor from making a European choice?”” That
is the underlying reality; and no one summit is going to change it.
continues: “However much the Kremlin wants to force the world to forget about
Ukraine, that isn’t going to happen because the West isn’t going to give anyone
the right to break windows in its neighborhood, because the Kremlin constantly
talks about Ukraine and makes it a domestic factor, and because restraining
Russia has become not only a key element of Ukrainian identity but a key
principle of European security.”
thought that by using force against Ukraine to prevent it from realizing its
European choice, he could restore Russia’s greatness and “imperial power.”But by “a bitter irony” for him, his efforts
to “preserve this Great Power quality” have brought and will continue to bring “crushing”
consequences – including at the upcoming summit.