More Western Leaders Urge US-Russian Cooperation
Introduction by Quemado Institute
September 19, 2015
A US alliance with Russia would mark a positive turning point for the people of Donbass. As Washington’s suspicions of Moscow subside, Western recognition of the two young Republics becomes a more realistic possibility. There is a growing sense among many observers that such an alliance might soon emerge.
We present three articles below highlighting the opinions of prominent Western figures, including former US President Jimmy Carter, presidential candidate Donald Trump, and former French foreign minister Bernard Couchner. These enlightened leaders are not alone in pointing the way toward an East-West partnership.
Republican Presidential TV Debates:
Attitude to Russia Unfriendly, But with Silver Lining
Guest Article by Tamara Zamyatina
September 18, 2015
The televised debates of 15 presidential candidates from the Republican Party broadcast in the United States on Wednesday confirmed that there is “silver lining” in the relations between Washington and Moscow, experts polled by TASS said. However, they note that “regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat will head the White House, disagreements between the two countries will remain.”
Billionaire Donald Trump, who currently enjoys the support of 37% of Republican voters, expressed confidence at the debates that he would “get along” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, not only on Syria, but also on Ukraine. His opponent Senator Marco Rubio expressed concern over Russia’s plans to strengthen its positions in the Middle East. Former head of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina said that she “wouldn’t talk to him at all.” Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush refrained from commenting on relations with Russia at all. Senator Rand Paul took an intermediate position between the two opinion poles. He reminded that dialogue between the United States and the Soviet Union continued even during the times of the Cold War, though the situation was much more complicated then. “I don’t think we need to be rash, I don’t think we need to be reckless, and I think need to leave lines of communication open,” Rand Paul stressed.
Deputy Dean of the Department of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research Institute “Higher School of Economics” Andrey Suzdaltsev told TASS that the Republican presidential debates should not be considered as the statements made by decision-making politicians. “The debates are aimed at the public, at US voters, they are aimed at the domestic political field, though, of course, they reflect the positions of the candidates for the post of the White House head,” Suzdaltsev said.
“The fact that Republican candidates actively discussed a range of foreign policy issues, that they discussed relations with Russia, indicates that they think about us. They think differently, distancing from each other. The picture comes out as checkered, but with a silver lining. The main thing that we heard was that candidates consider it necessary to discuss with Moscow different positions on Syria, on Ukraine, on Iran, and on geopolitics in the broad sense,” the expert told TASS.
In general, the American establishment treats Russia as the country that last the World War, Suzdaltsev continued. “Washington treats Moscow as a winner and then wonders on what grounds Russia restores its important role in the world, including in the Middle East? The United States express readiness to allow Russia to partake in international affairs, but only as a contractor in carrying out Washington’s orders, which is unacceptable for Moscow,” the expert noted.
“Republican televised debates were just for starters. There will be Democratic presidential debates, with Hillary Clinton in the lead. There is a great difference between these debates. Since the times of the Soviet Union, Russia has traditionally had strained contacts with US Democrat presidents. The exception was John Kennedy, but while he was in office, we narrowly escaped the Third World War during the Caribbean Crisis. And if Hillary Clinton wins — no one can guarantee that the renewed Cold War will not turn into a ‘hot war’,” Syzdaltsev warned.
“Unlike Democrats, Republicans are firm realists who can take into account the interests of other countries. Talking about Democrats, they will always call our countries ‘the empire of evil’ as long as it has nuclear weapons, even if it becomes an ideally democratic country,” the expert said.
Head of the Center of International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexey Arbatov told TASS that the attitude was unfriendly toward Russia and hostile toward Putin at the televised Republican presidential debates. “However, several statements made by Republicans show that they do not share the official position of the White House toward the Kremlin and are in opposition to the ‘hawks’. This is the law of the two-party system. No matter who wins the presidential election in 2016 — a Republican or a Democrat — the relations between Moscow and Washington will depend not on the party affiliation of the White House host, but on the person himself,” Arbatov stressed.
Talking about disagreements between Washington and Moscow on the settlement of the Syrian crisis and fighting against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization, the expert said Russia and the United States can find common ground. “The White House and the Kremlin can organized the Geneva III conference, negotiate creating a government of national unity in Syria with a transitional period for Bashar Assad, hold election and set up the base for a joint fights against IS. In any case, many Western politicians say unofficially that the situation in Syria is close to that in Iraq and Libya, and they support the idea of the Russian leadership to establish a broad international coalition to fight against IS. The problem is the Ukrainian crisis that became an insurmountable irritant in the relations between Moscow and Washington,” Arbatov concluded.
(TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors.)
Jimmy Carter Urges Obama to Solve Syrian
Crisis With Russia, Iran
September 16, 2015
The 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, has become the latest politician urging the United States to join forces with Russia and Iran in order to find a solution to solve the protracted Syrian crisis.
Carter considers finding a solution to the deadly conflict, which has left over 220,000 people killed and more than 7.6 million displaced, to be the first major step on the path to tackling the overwhelming influx of refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere. “The best thing obviously is to deal with Syria,” since the majority of refugees come from this country, the former president said at an annual event held at the Carter Center.
“We now have more refugees from war zones on Earth than we have ever had in history even after the Second World War. About the fourth of the total population of Lebanon now are refugees from Syria. Jordan is also heavily afflicted with it. Turkey has also taken a lot of those refugees,” he explained.
The worsening refugee crisis in Europe prompted many politicians and experts to call on the US to abandon its current approach to dealing with Syria. Washington still maintains that peace in the war-torn country is only possible if President Bashar al-Assad resigns. Carter referred to this stance as erroneous but seemed to hint at the possibility of the Obama administration altering its strategy.
“The United States, I think, mistakenly at first excluded any possibility of President Assad being involved in deciding what would happen to [Syria] in the future. … On the other hand, as you known, Russia and Iran have supported the Assad government and now ISIS has basically taken over good portion of the eastern part of Syria,” Carter noted, referring to Islamic States militants. US cooperation with Russia should not be limited to Syria. Carter asserted that Americans need “to get on the same side whenever we possibly can with Russia and also with China by the way to promote peace in the world and harmony and future economic development for everybody.”
West Cannot Solve Global Crises Without Russia – French Politician
September 18, 2015
Western countries should realize that it is impossible to tackle current global problems without Russia’s involvement, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Couchner told RIA Novosti.
“Nowadays, major global issues are Iran, Ukraine and Syria. In order to resolve them, the involvement of Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin is needed. And the West should be ready to talk to Russia in a diplomatic manner,” Couchner said after his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.
Commenting on a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, Couchner underscored the role Russia played in the negotiations. “US President Barack Obama wanted a successful end for his presidential term. And he’s got it with the Iran nuclear deal. But it could not be possible without Vladimir Putin,” he added.
Couchner also pointed out that the most serious problem on the actual agenda is an influx of Middle East and Northern African refugees who recently flooded Europe. “We need to speed up to tackle the crisis. We spent three years elaborating a refugee policy. But we weren’t ready for such a crisis. It is not only about morals. According to the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, we have to accept all refugees coming to us,” he explained.