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Russian experts hash over US foreign policy course in 2018

The Russian elites should realize at last how the US political system works, experts say

MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The United States’ relations with the rest of the world are in disorder and throughout this year Washington will remain focused on its own internal affairs, while a "major deal" with Russia which many have hoped for will fail to materialize, as follows from the annual forecast Global Threats in 2018 presented at the Valdai discussion club on Monday. The report was prepared by the Foreign Policy think tank under the guidance of the Valdai club’s program director Andrey Sushentsov.

"The United States is entering a new phase of its development. It has lost internal unity and long-term vision," the report says.

"Doubts about the reality of the American dream have plunged society into depression and the elites, into dismay and chaos in relations with the rest of the word. The United States this year will be focused on itself more than ever before and its sporadic foreign policy actions will be explained by internal political struggle. In a critical situation the president has been stripped of the right to take crucial decisions on behalf of the country, while Congress is unable to make them due to sluggish procedures and inter-party obstructions."

"One way of another, Russia will remain without a trustworthy partner in the person of the United States, so a major deal many would like to see will fail to materialize," the report runs. "Moreover, in view of growing global competition the United States will be building an economic, technological and political citadel consisting of the closest maritime powers - Britain, Australia and Canada. The global liberal order will take a new geographic shape and, apparently, get a new name - a US-centered order in the Pacific. Alongside this the United States will be trying to weaken and split the rest of the world, first and foremost, Greater Eurasia."

Valdai analysts believe that this strategy does not depend on whether there will be a conservative or liberal administration in the White House or if there is consensus among the elites.

"How consistently this policy will be translated into life and with what methods will make the sole difference," the report says.

What is to be done?

"Head-on confrontation with the United States is a way well-known and liked by many in Russia, but it is very costly and fraught with high risks," the analysts say. "Moreover, Eurasia is more likely to achieve greater unity over the ideas of common development and not antagonism with the United States <…> Russian anti-Americanism of the past years has lost its link with the reality. The United States has retained the status of the leading world power, but its claim to world domination has proved futile. The task of the new phase is to enhance the predictability and stability of Russia’s relations with the United States, while the latter is getting accustomed to the new international realities and turning into one of several great powers."

The Russian elites should realize at last how the US political system works and "start doing precisely what Moscow has been accused of long ago - creating a legal lobby as a system of indirect influence on US politics," the authors of the report say. "Although lobby groups’ contacts with US congressmen are not considered as intervention in the United States internal affairs, Russia has invariably refrained from creating its lobby, because it does not want to be a target of such efforts itself," Valdai experts say. "Forming lobby groups requires prolonged, painstaking and inconspicuous efforts, but it is necessary, as a supplement to other means of the United Sates’ strategic containment. Keep your friends closer and enemies, still closer.".