The State Duma International Affairs Committee held a round table on the topic: “US elections and the prospects for Russian-American relations.” The meeting was attended by deputies of the State Duma and authoritative representatives of the expert community, including Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy Fedor Lukyanov, Scientific Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Rogov, Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences Valery Garbuzov, Deputy Director of the Faculty of World Economy and world politics TsKEMI Dmitry Suslov.
A landmark and professional exchange of views took place on the post-election situation in the United States, its impact on international relations, the first possible steps of the Joe Biden administration in foreign policy and in Russia after the official announcement of the election results for the 46th President of the United States of America, said the head of the Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky.
During the meeting, most experts predicted the possibility of a return to the multilateral approaches of the new American administration on the foreign policy track to promote its goals on the global agenda, as well as more reasonable steps in the field of strategic stability and arms control. However, the participants agreed that progress is still poorly visible in the dialogue between Russia and the United States, although it is necessary to try to stabilize bilateral relations.
“In the presented configuration of Biden’s cabinet, there are no ardent opponents of Russia, as well as supporters of improving relations,” said Sergei Rogov. According to him, “the main thing for Biden will be domestic politics.” “In these conditions, foreign policy does not rule out an attempt to switch to multilateral action, as it was under ex-President Obama, that is, to mobilize US allies, primarily to counter China. Changes in US policy under Biden on climate issues and in the Iranian direction are not ruled out. Also, unlike Trump, Biden is a 100% supporter of arms control agreements. I think that during the inauguration on January 20, Biden will announce his decision to extend the Russian-American START III treaty for 5 years, ”Rogov does not rule out.
At the same time, he is confident that Biden will pursue a hard line towards Russia. “This will concern both the continuation of sanctions and the intensification of attempts to tear the former Soviet republics away from Russia, not only Ukraine and Georgia. Criticism will also continue on the state of human rights and democracy in Russia and so on, “Rogov said. But the main thing with all this, the scientific director of ISKRAN noted, is to prevent an arms race. “One should not hope to improve relations with America, one should at least try to stabilize the level of dialogue in order to prevent a slide into war,” he stressed.
Russia should move away from accepting relations with the United States as central for Moscow, Fyodor Lukyanov believes. “In my opinion, we need to do our best to avoid accepting relations with the United States as central to Russia. Nothing serious can be achieved there. Minimization of risks – yes, of course, to the extent that it is available, ”said Lukyanov. According to him, under Biden, Russia will have to deal with “very intelligent politicians-bigots” who will try to restore in words everything that, from their point of view, “broke” Donald Trump, but the real agenda in Washington’s relations with Moscow is -really will not appear. “And even the extension of START-3 is possible, but it will not change anything in the nature of relations between the United States and Russia,” the expert added.
Valery Garbuzov, in turn, noted that a “Trump personality cult” was partly created in Russia. “Such an illusory image of a person who is supposedly capable of solving problems in the Russian direction was formed. But Trump became the only president who was distinguished by pro-Russian rhetoric and tough anti-Russian policies, ”he said.
With Trump’s departure, expert Dmitry Suslov believes, the Russian factor in the internal political struggle in the United States may decrease. “There will not be a second Russiagate, but there is no hope of improving relations and expanding the agenda either. The issues of containing Russia will be an element of continuity in foreign policy, plus elements of ideologization will be added, ”Suslov is sure.
Nevertheless, the Russian parliament believes that the dialogue with American partners should be continued to the extent that it is possible and meets the interests of the Russian Federation. “No matter how pessimistic the forecasts are, one should not completely discount the possibility of resuming cooperation, in particular, in the parliamentary plane,” said Leonid Slutsky. He recalled that unfreezing the Duma-Congress format remains a priority in the activities of the International Affairs Committee. “No matter how difficult it may seem, I do not exclude the possibility that in the foreseeable future we will be able to restore the inter-parliamentary dialogue and, perhaps, the next round table we will hold with the participation of our colleagues from the United States, albeit in the videoconference format for now,” concluded Slutsky.