The two leaders have previously met on the sidelines of several other international functions but hadn't hitherto had an entire summit dedicated to their talks, which come at a crucial time in global affairs. Russian-American relations have bottomed out at the same time as the US took the lead in sparking a so-called "trade war" with the EU and China. Previously unshakeable transatlantic ties are now under strain after Trump demanded that America's European allies contribute more to NATO, which has weakened Western unity when taken together with the newfound trade tensions.
There are also growing concerns over the intensification of the Iranian-Israeli proxy war in Syria following the defeat of most of the terrorists there and the regional implications of the US' unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. Both issues are expected to figure prominently in the upcoming summit because the US understands the pivotal role that Russia could play in "restraining" Iran in Syria, or so it believes, while also acknowledging the irreplaceable "pressure valve" function that it has for the Islamic Republic in providing much-needed relief for its economy following the impending reimposition of sanctions against it. Moving eastward along the Eurasian Rimland, another topic of conversation could be the US' renewed commitment to the War on Afghanistan, which affects Russia's security interests in the former Central Asian Republics bordering the war-torn state.
Concerning China, the proverbial "elephant in the room", it's long been thought by some experts that Trump wants to pry Russia away from the People's Republic following the Obama Administration's counterproductive geopolitical moves that only strengthened their strategic partnership against American interests, though this is much easier said than done and probably won't see any success. Even so, it wouldn't be unthinkable for Trump to try, however he might, though all of this remains in the realm of speculation for now. Altogether, when taking stock of the most likely West-to-East topics of NATO, the Mideast, and China that are expected to form the core subjects of discussion between the Russian and American leaders, the conclusion can be reached that they're trying to work together to bring some stability to the emerging new world order without surrendering their interests.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Zoya Conover, Political commentator from the US state of Georgia and John Stachelski, PhD candidate at Yale University, a research fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies, and a writer at Fort Russ news.
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