Will Trump-Putin meet see new start for US foreign policy?
Published: Jul 07, 2017 12:07 AM

US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. It's uncertain what will result from the meeting, but that the two leaders will meet face-to-face for the first time and exchange views over issues of mutual concern is expected to have a positive effect on the US-Russia relationship.

On the campaign trail, Trump sent positive signals that he wanted to improve relations with Russia and insisted that Washington would need Moscow's help to wipe out the Islamic State. But after he assumed office, a toxic atmosphere against Russia in the US has stymied Trump's intent for bilateral détente. Plagued by an FBI probe into whether his campaign colluded with the Russian government during the presidential election, Trump's governance has been adversely affected.

At a time when the alleged Russia-gate is simmering, Trump has withstood great pressure to move ahead with his meeting with Putin, which indicates the differences in his Russia policy from that of Barack Obama. It is unusual that there have been no official meetings between the top leaders of Russia and the US for a long time. As one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world, US-Russia relations are of great importance for global peace and stability. The two countries share common interests and a need to cooperate over a string of hotspot issues such as anti-terrorism and the Syria issue. Although the imminent Trump-Putin meeting will be overshadowed by American-Russian divergences, that the two leaders can sit down for talks is important to deepen mutual understanding.

However, the influence of the anti-Russia forces in the US cannot be underestimated. The US mainstream media hyped on the eve of the Trump-Putin meet that a meeting at this time is more in the interests of Russia and that Trump would be "outmaneuvered" by Putin. This is a typical cold-war mentality. It is also reported that Trump has looked into lifting US sanctions on Russia. This suggests he is breaking the constraints of that cold-war mentality.

US-Russian relations are at their worst since the Cold War and this will exert a negative influence on global stability should it continue to deteriorate. China is willing to see a policy change in both countries. China is the most active in the China-US-Russia triangle. It has maintained stable relationships with both Russia and the US, which will be conducive to promoting US-Russia rapport. Major power relations in the 21st century can no longer be a hegemonic pattern, nor can it be that of two against one, as the interests of the three countries are already tied together. 


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