Much has been made of the coming reset of relations between the United States and Russia. No, not the infamous reset that U.S. President Barak Obama did during his presidency. This reset — Reset II for no other reason than “why not?” — is helmed by incoming President Donald Trump.
During Trump’s campaign and the transition between Administrations, Trump has made much about relations with Russia. Being of the opposite political party as Obama, it almost is axiomatic that Trump would cast Obama’s handling of Russian relationships as pretty much abysmal. This is not without validity. The DEFCON Warning System has expressed considerable concern that President Obama has made the United States look very weak in the eyes of Russia.
Trump, as President, vowed to be different. A “Reset II”, to coin a phrase.
Small wonder that Russia looks forward to a Trump presidency with almost Christmas morning glee.
The problem is, those who feel that Russia is going to be snugly friends with the United States may be in for a rude surprise.
Much of what has brought the U.S. to be at odds with Russia won’t change come January 20th, 2017. Russia still occupies both Georgia and Ukraine. They will still be in Syria. They still are trying to drive a wedge between Turkey and its NATO ally the United States. Russia will still be in the Arctic, securing its position there.
In the simplest language, Russia isn’t going to change under a new U.S. Administration. Russia is hoping that the United States will be the one to change.
Placing hopes in Donald Trump’s expressions of isolationism, Russia is looking for the United States to get out of its business. The golden ring would be some weakening or dissolution of NATO, but that is wishful thinking. Not completely out of the realm of possibility, though, as Trump has made it clear that other countries need to bear their burdens, which has made NATO countries nervous.
What causes Russia concern is that, while Trump has cast himself as less interventionist that previous U.S. Presidents, Trump has also called upon a strengthening of the U.S. military. Budget-wise, the United States dwarfs other countries in military spending, and Russia’s budget can’t handle another spending war like Regan did in the 80’s. (Which pretty much broke the old Soviet Union, literally.)
Do not be deceived. Russia is looking for a different United States come January 20. If people — or Trump — is looking for a different Russia, January 21st is going to have a terrible post-inauguration hangover.