Sputnik: What are you thought about the Trump-Putin meeting and its format?
Nicolai Petro: I am not surprised by the response, that was a given for me. I think that if you read the actual transcript of the press conference, I think they came out with more than I expected, actually. They clearly had a meeting of minds on the need to improve relations and to get together more often and to try to establish a better framework over all for the relationship. This is clearly, if you will, a dig that both of them had to the Western media, which is using any excuse to try to tear down the president.
Sputnik: There is of course a lot of pressure on Trump, perhaps even more after the meeting, but do you think it's likely that the US and Russia will actually experience some kind of a turning point in the relationship following this meeting?
Nicolai Petro: I think relations are going to be at this abysmal level for the foreseeable future, and it is not the fault of the presidents themselves, it is the political environment in the United States which uses Trump's innovative attempts at diplomacy in North Korea, with respect to NATO, and sees them not as genuine initiatives to be considered but as things to be criticized in order to bring down the Trump presidency. Again, I think there is an unprecedented hostility among the American elites and American media toward President Trump. And I think their thinking is that if he can be removed, "we can get back to the good old days and restore the traditional hierarchy of politics and politicians in America." But I think those days are gone.
Sputnik: I think the primary, perhaps, goals of Russia, I don't know, perhaps not for this meeting, but I know that Russia is interested in preventing the spread of NATO and is interested in the lifting of sanctions. Do you think in any way that Putin was able to move any closer towards those goals through this meeting?
Nicolai Petro: There is no reason to believe that. This is a one-off, so far. We are not likely to see much change in sanctions, I believe, on the part of the United States. There is really no incentive to undo them because Russia is always a very convenient whipping boy for any individual congressman or any group of congressmen. So, [if the] sanctions were implemented through executive order then the president could say: "Look, I can make this decision, I can rescind these sanctions, I can extend them — what do you have to offer?" But in this case, now that Congress has asserted itself and made it much more difficult to rescind, there is nothing to hope for, in my opinion.
Nicolai Petro is a Silvia-Chandley professor of peace studies and nonviolence and professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island.
The views and opinions expressed by Nicolai Petro are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.