After a series of disquieting meetings with European and NATO allies last week, President Trump met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a bid to restore relations between Washington and Moscow. In the lead up to summit, President Trump sought to temper expectations, but repeatedly affirmed his longstanding belief that improved relations with Russia would be beneficial for U.S. interests. With so many high-stake issues for the two to discuss—ranging from Ukraine to Syria and arms control to Russian meddling in U.S. and European democratic processes—it remains to be seen if the summit will lead to further rapprochement.
Ahead of the highly anticipated Trump-Putin meeting and the NATO summit in Europe later this month, Ambassador Taylor discusses the key issues that will be on the agenda at both, including Russian meddling in U.S. elections and Moscow’s aggressive actions in Europe as well as NATO members’ progress as it relates to U.S. concerns over burden-sharing.
Following a meeting between U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Vladimir Putin this week, the White House announced that President Trump will sit down with his Russian counterpart for their first formal summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. While both presidents Trump and Putin have repeatedly emphasized the need for improved ties, there are a host of contentious issues—such as the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent U.S. sanctions, Russia’s interference in U.S. and European elections, and the Syrian civil war—that could derail the effort to improve the bilateral relationship.
For over a decade, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has campaigned to subvert the liberal world order and undermine global norms by invading neighbors and interfering in democratic processes at home and abroad. To explain how Congress can counter Russian aggression, members of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) came together for a bipartisan dialogue at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Vladimir Putin began his fourth term. Ambassador William B. Taylor explains that Putin’s political longevity is a combination of Russia’s desire to feel important in the world again, Putin’s power over the media, and the support of powerful, wealthy friends. Nevertheless, Taylor says harsh U.S. sanctions combined with those from the international community have isolated and punished Russia for Putin’s provocations in Ukraine and elsewhere, meddling in elections, and cyberwarfare.
The alleged Russian use of a chemical weapon against a former Russian spy turned double agent in the United Kingdom led to scores of Russian diplomats being sent packing from the United States and Western Europe. Ambassador Taylor discusses the strong showing of unity among Western nations, and its effect on Russian intelligence gathering efforts and additional U.S. and international economic sanctions.
Mona Yacoubian gives us a glimpse into the changing dynamics in Syria, addressing Assad’s grip on power, Russia’s support, and Iran and Turkey’s roles and interests. Yacoubian also addresses the rising tensions between Turkey and the United States over the Kurds.
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Sochi on Tuesday to discuss efforts to end the Syrian civil war. The presidents of Iran and Turkey are scheduled to meet Putin on Wednesday as Russia promises to scale back its military presence in Syria and push for a diplomatic solution.
Sino-Russian alignment in support of the Assad government in Syria is driven primarily by the mutual goal of preventing regime change and halting the spread of Islamic extremism. However, because Chinese strategic priorities lie elsewhere and Russia’s tactic of protracting military conflict in Syria contradicts Beijing’s long-term strategic interests, the prospect of future Sino-Russian cooperation in Syria is limited. This Peace Brief examines the forces driving this cooperation as well as its limits.
When 5,000 people flooded into a city of 500,000 in one night with little more than the pajamas on their backs, they were greeted by the mayor and an assemblage of churches and civic groups ready to embrace them with shelter, food, clothing and moral support. The scene might sound like something from Europe’s west, where refugees are flooding in from the Middle East and Africa. But this is Ukraine in the midst of a war and an economic crisis, and two years into upheaval, the strain is beginning to show.