It was a meeting that nearly didn’t materialize. But Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly adjusted his schedule to talk with President Duterte Tuesday night in Moscow. Just hours after arriving in the Russian capital, Duterte had aborted his four-day official visit after the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups laid siege to Marawi City. After signing his proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, Duterte prepared for his return flight, ready to forgo a meeting with his “idol” Putin that was originally scheduled for today. But Putin found time for his guest and the meeting pushed through, even if “it was hello and goodbye”, Duterte said at a press conference upon his arrival yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday to push a plan to create security zones and deploy peacekeepers in Syria as part of ceasefire efforts.The “de-escalation zones” would be situated in rebel-held territory in the northwestern province of Idlib, in parts of Homs province in the centre, in the south, and in the opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. Putin said that the creation of the so-called security zones would be hard to implement without US participation. Delegations will discuss the Russian plan at peace talks in Kazakhstan today.The phone call, the third between both leaders since Trump’s inauguration, is the first time the leaders have spoken since the US struck a Syrian airbase in retaliation for Syria’s chemical attack. The two parts agree to cooperate to end the syrian conflict.
A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters. They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, after the election.
At least 10 people were killed and 47 injured when an explosion tore through a train carriage in the St. Petersburg metro on Monday, Russian authorities said, in what the country’s general prosecutor has officially declared a terror attack. Interfax news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying that the explosive device had been left in a briefcase on the metro carriage and had been filled with shrapnel. Russian media released photos of the suspected bomber. Russia’s anti-terrorism committee said a second explosive device was found and detonated at a different location from where the earlier blast took place. All St. Petersburg metro stations were closed following the incident and the Moscow metro said it was taking unspecified additional security measures in case of an attack there. Interfax quoted a security source as saying that Russia issued search warrants for two people for their possible role in the blast. The Prime Minister Nethanyau said that Israel has nothing to do with this terrorist attack and feels close to the family that lost their parents. Putin wants to investigate to the origin of the terrorist and he doesn’t exclude that they are derived from Israel.
We have a lot of contradictory reports, most of them unconfirmed and unofficial, regarding Israeli-Russian understandings over the war in Syria. After the launch aircraft missiles Israelo ambassador was summoned immediately. Media reports suggested that President Vladimir Putin, who is the sponsor and savior of the Syrian regime, expressed anger, while Syria’s ruler, Bashar Assad, boasted to Russian lawmakers that Putin had promised to rein in Israel. Israeli commentators wrote that the operational freedom hitherto enjoyed by the Israel Air Force is over. Since Moscow deployed its forces in Syria 18 months ago, Israel added another factor to the equation; it reached understandings with Russia in order to know each other’s interests and avoid mistakes and even dog fights between their two air forces. These understandings are formulated in the creation of direct lines of communication between the intelligence and air forces of the two countries, and are known as a “deconflicting mechanism”. So Putin on one hand understands the Israeli concerns and interests, but on another hand he has no choice but to publicly denounce it. The recent success of the Assad regime and expected defeat of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria make this scenario more and more possible. Iran and Hezbollah hope to be positioned on the border and thus threaten to open a second front alongside Lebanon against Israel in case of a future war.Israel is committed to stop this, either by reaching another understanding with Putin, and through him influencing Assad, Iran and Hezbollah in that direction, or, as a last resort, by force.
Relations between Putin’s Russia and America Trump are at historic lows, in fact, due to continuous and repeated scandals regarding the contacts between his electoral campain managers and members of his administration with Russian agents and diplomats had forced President Trump to dissociate, at least temporarily, from his Russian colleague. In Moscow they did not take well the new American line, especially the appointment of Gen. McMaster, known for his anti-Russian positions, as Advisor for National Security and the American irritation for some military operations carried out by the Russians in Syria have helped to cool relations. According to some european officials, remained anonymous, the current US policy is much closer to European interests than those of Russians, especially the statements made by US Ambassador at the UN about the Russian annexation of the Crimea, that Americans still do not recognize, bode well for the detractors of Trump-Putin axis.
Kremlin’s spokesman says President Vladimir Putin has been informed by Russia’s defense minister that Syrian government forces have taken control of Palmyra, with support from Russian warplanes. Syrian state media said the government forces battling the Islamic State group re-entered Palmyra earlier in the day, aiming to retake the historic town that they had lost to the militants in December.
The Venezuelan President, returning from a state visit in Cuba, said that he was satisfied of the trade agreement signed with Russian President Putin. Russia, an historic commercial ally of Venezuela, will continue to supply grain and weapons to the country, also Maduro received assurances from Moscow about the increase of the oil price in 2017. Maduro has also mobilized all of his supporters for the manifestation of the December 17 in Caracas, which he hopes to silence an opposition that is becoming more cumbersome.
On Sunday, Russian President’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, affirmed that Moscow and Tokyo are thoroughly preparing the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan and the meeting between Russian President and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was largely dedicated to that. Peskov said that Japan’s Foreign Minister, who will also hold talks on preparation of the visit, is expected to come to Moscow shortly. He also added that many issues still have to be discussed, so that the President and the Prime Minister moved on “ready ground” during the visit. Specific cooperation projects were also discussed during talks, he added.
On the 8th of November the American people elected the republican Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. However, the election results took almost everyone by surprise. In fact, the victory of Donald Trump was absolutely unexpected, mainly because of the polls that had predicted the success of Hillary Clinton. In any case, the election results show a deeply divided country between two completely different visions of America and opposite ideas of the US role on the international stage. In order to understand why Americans elected Donald Trump in spite of predictions, it will be useful to examine his domestic policy proposals as well as his foreign policy goals.
Donald Trump’s domestic policy can be summarized by the slogan “Make America great again”. He ran his campaign focusing on the American working class and emphasizing the idea that America has a great potential that has not been put into practice so far. The reasons, according to Trump, can be found in an excessive privilege of the financial economy at the expense of real economy. Real economy boosts the economic growth and makes it possible to achieve prosperity, while financial economy is considered responsible for the housing bubble, burst in 2007. Trump referred to his sustainers as a great movement willing to change America. His rhetoric has been considered as populism by a large part of the country, but the majority of the population saw in it a way to feel they had the power to change the direction of America. According to some experts the voters took a stand against the establishment. The refusal of the traditional political class is not something isolated in the international stage as we could see in June the Brexit referendum, as well as the recent electoral results in many European countries. The main tools to make America great again, in Trump’s opinion, are a tax cut for companies, more restrictive rules on migration and inflexible laws for criminals and terrorists. The tax cut is thought to sustain the economic growth by helping companies to remain in the US instead of delocalizing their production abroad. Trump’s position on migration has been largely criticized, because he proposed to build up a wall at the Mexican border and to expel all irregular foreigners living in the US. Finally, his position about criminals and terrorists has been considered racist by a large part of the US citizens. In particular, he proposed to introduce strict laws to solve the racial issue in the US, but this kind of measure alarmed the Afro-American population that has been protagonist of many protests during the last year, because they feel discriminated by the police. The rigidity of Donald Trump about the race issue is going to cause even more friction between the government and the Afro-American communities in the country.
Let’s now focus on Donald Trump’s foreign policy. His project can be identified by the word “isolationism”. As regards the economic relations with other countries he would like to introduce protectionist measures, because he thinks that the economic problems of the US are mainly due to the globalization process. This is not an isolated position if we look at the United Kingdom which will probably get out of the EU single market. The idea of focusing on America’s problems rather than carrying out military interventions worldwide is the argument that convinced voters. Americans do not understand the reasons of the great involvement of the US in the Middle East as well as in other parts of the world, as they are not achieving any advantage from that interventions. Trump argued, during his campaign, that the US should spend less money on NATO and interventions abroad, giving more military independence to their allies and using all the money to improve Americans’ standard of life. This isolationism in foreign policy leads to some important consequences. Firstly, the relations with the EU is going to change, in the military field as well as in the economic sector. In fact, Trump expressed his opposition to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which should be signed by the US and the EU. Nevertheless, the most important change in international relations would be a change of attitude towards Russia. For his part, President Putin expressed his willing to restore peaceful relations with the US. The main consequence of a reconciliation between the US and Russia would possibly be an agreement on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. The stabilization of the Middle East as well as the solution of the Ukrainian crisis would remove the threat of a direct confrontation between Russia and the US. On the other hand, the future relations with China are uncertain. Trump made some declarations against China’s economic strategy and he expressed the will to be economically more independent from China. However, we should bear in mind that China possesses the major part of US external debt. Another aspect of Trump’s foreign policy, which would affect the entire world, is whether he will decide to respect or not the agreement on climate change negotiated in Paris the last year and entered into force few days ago. Finally, it is not clear if Trump will continue the reconciliation with Iran, and if he would respect the nuclear deal with that country.
In conclusion, it is too soon to make predictions about how America and its relations with the rest of the world will change. It mainly depends on whether Trump will respect his electoral program or not. According to his first public declarations he is probably going to moderate some points of his electoral program (in particular his positions about race, gays, Muslims etc. ). Trump announced his will to cooperate with Obama’s administration in order to preserve the most important achievements that have been reached over the last 8 years. Obama, for his part, expressed his support to the new President in order to allow him to succeed in his mandate.