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US Republicans’ win in mid-term elections unlikely to mend relations with Russia

November 05, 2014, 15:16 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Vitaly Belousov

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. The US Republicans’ win in the mid-term congressional elections will not bring about any noticeable change for the better in Washington-Moscow relations, which will remain strained for a while, says the general director of the Russian Council for International Affairs, Andrey Kortunov.

“The importance of these relations should not be over-exaggerated,” he told TASS.

“Over foreign policy issues there is a two-party consensus between the Democrats and the Republicans. There are no fundamental differences between them. Moreover, the Republicans are still critical of a potential presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state in Obama’s former administration, for starting the ‘reset’ policy in relations with Russia. One should not expect them to come up with any constructive initiatives towards Moscow,” Kotunov said.

“When the posts of congressional committees' chiefs change hands, foreign policy activity usually slows down. While the elections of committees' heads are in progress and foreign policy priorities are being identified there will be a certain pause in relations. Already now one can expect that Washington will take a harsher stance on Iran and China, which will cause indirect effects on US-Russia relations,” Kortunov believes.

“If there develop certain shifts in Washington-Moscow ties, they will come not as a result of the Republicans’ win in the mid-term polls, but of the forthcoming change of the US Administration following the election of a new US president in 2016,” he remarked.

“From the standpoint of foreign policy priorities both the Democrats and the Republicans proceed from the understanding that the expansion of the Islamic State in the territory of Iraq and Syria is the worst threat to national security. Washington hopes to counter this threat with closer unity by the allies in the international coalition opposing the ISIL,” the analyst said. “The struggle with the Ebola virus disease is another issue high on the US foreign policy agenda.”

“The Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s role in its settlement features prominently among US foreign policy priorities, too. Washington is prepared to strengthen NATO’s foothold in Europe and tighten sanctions against Russia if Moscow recognizes the November 2 elections of the heads and legislators of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics in the southeast of Ukraine,” the analyst said.

“With the Republicans gaining a majority in Congress the estrangement in relations between Washington and Moscow will grow worse. The Republicans are strongly critical of Obama for weakness and for the failure of his policies on the Russian track. Obama will have to turn an attentive ear to that criticism,” the dean of the world politics and world economy department at the Higher School of Economics, honorary president of the Foreign and Defence Policy Council, Sergey Karaganov, told TASS.

“The US ruling elite is out to compensate for the losses of the previous decade, when Washington hopelessly failed in Afghanistan and Iraq and had to accept Russia’s initiative for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. After the financial crisis of 2008-2009 the United States’ positions in the world fell far lower than they did after the Vietnam war. The United States will now go to great lengths in a bid to restore its original might, or at least an illusion of it,” Karaganov said.

“We shall not see a normalization of Russian-US relations for years to come,” he added.

 

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