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US expert says Trump may take ‘softer position’ on Crimea

An expert says it is too early to tell whether Russia and the US will succeed in getting along again

WASHINGTON, November 14. /TASS/. Washington and Moscow will "both have to show goodwill and recognize that a bad peace is better than a good war," in order to normalize bilateral relations under the new US administration, an expert at the US Atlantic Council Ariel Cohen told TASS on Sunday.

He said that during the election campaign, "Trump’s team and the Kremlin had expressed the aspiration to open a new page in US-Russian bilateral relations." At the same time, "Trump made it clear that compared to the Obama administration, he could adopt a softer position on the Ukrainian and Crimean issues," added the US expert who was a Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research think tank in Washington.

In his opinion, "if Trump continues to view IS (terror group outlawed in Russia) and Iran as main external threats to the US security, and if (the US) still has issues with China, than establishing closer ties with Russia will be reasonable and might become one of Washington’s priorities." Cohen also believes that given Washington’s changing attitude towards NATO, "new talks with Russia on the conventional armed forces in Europe could make sense."

When asked what the success of the US and Russia’s attempt to normalize their relations depended upon, Cohen pointed to three factors. One was Trump’s own commitment to solving this problem, the other was Moscow and Washington’s ability to come to a compromise on the key issues of Syria and Ukraine. Cohen also said he believed Russia was interested in normalizing bilateral relations more than Washington so his advice was that "Moscow not just waits for the US to make concessions" but expressed readiness "to take significant reciprocal steps," including those concerning the situation in Donbass.

The US expert also said it was "too early yet" to tell whether Russia and the US would succeed in getting along again. "The next three months will be critical, I wish both countries to show wisdom, patience and achieve success in the end," Cohen said.