August 6, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7041

'Kommersant' Columnist Strokan: The U.S. Bill Reduces Trump To The Role Of A Spectator With No Influence On Russian-American Relations

August 6, 2017
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 7041

On July 25, Kommersant political commentator Sergey Strokan wrote that the recent U.S. bill imposing new sanctions against Russia reduce the President Donald Trump to the role of a spectator.[1] Trump himself stated he that the bill is "seriously flawed," particularly because "it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate."[2] According to Strokan, the bill marks a new phase in Russia-U.S. relations, since Moscow no longer cares about the Trump's political fate (i.e. whether or not he will face impeachment). Strokan noted that Trump, who has become an empty shell, is no longer the great hope for a Russia-U.S. relations reset, but can now be perceived as its gravedigger.

Below are excerpts from Strokan's article:[3]

Sergey Strokan (

Strokan: Trump Has Become An Empty Shell, Reduced To The Role Of Reset's Gravedigger

Trump crushed by the wheels of the U.S. establishment, Congress, the senate and the Pentagon appear on the first three wheels (Source:, August 3, 2017)

"An unprecedented bill imposing new sanctions on Russia… will define the trajectory of American policy towards Moscow for many years to come and will signify a new approach to Russia’s relations with the West.

"The negative reaction to what is happening in the United States by the European partners who are uneager to become victims in someone else's internal political war, indicates that the popular Russian notion of the West as a single monolith is now meaningless. No, Europe is by no means becoming the good cop for Moscow and in some ways it is even prepared to ramp up its own pressure on Russia. Nevertheless, the decision by the U.S. Congress is a watershed of sorts for relations within the Euro-Atlantic community and its Russian policy. As the that West recently has split on adopting a single position towards Russia, Moscow will have to more clearly delineate its American and European policy directions and reformulate them.

"As far as America is concerned, it is no longer all that important when and where Donald Trump will again meet with Vladimir Putin, nor how many minutes will a new meeting last, whether on the sidelines of some new Hamburg or on the White House lawn. Neither it is so important what Donald Trump will write about Russia on Twitter -- after all, what is the difference? The bill… reduces the president to the role of spectator: the future of Russian-American relations no longer depends on him practically. And basically Moscow no longer cares about the political fate of Donald Trump, whether or not he is threatened with impeachment. Let us reiterate, the trajectory of American policy is set - and in all likelihood, for a long time to come.

"Why did that happen? The current catastrophe in relations with America was caused by a rare combination of several adverse factors, similar to conditions for a perfect storm. First, in the history of the United States there was no previous president who would be forced to fight for political survival from his first days in the White House. Second, this president proved completely unprepared for a protracted power struggle, unable to build a proper defense or assemble a harmonious well-coordinated team and on top of that taking one blow after another. Third, even though China was earlier seen as the main threat to the United States, it was Russia that became the chosen cudgel for these blows. Fourth, as a pragmatic businessman Donald Trump, lacking background knowledge of the world politics, still does not understand why America needs relations with Moscow. Why should he fight for those relations, especially as Russia is not one of the leading partners of the U.S. and does not have much influence on the job market? Geopolitics is but an abstract and vague concept for the new president.

"As a result, Donald Trump, long seen by Moscow as a real hope for a new reset in relations with the U.S., in reality became a mere empty shell and even assumed the role of their gravedigger, even if against his will. In this situation, the decisive intensification of the European policy can offer Russia a real chance. Unlike the U.S., the EU, which has opposed new American sanctions, has serious economic interests in Russia, its leaders are more professional and predictable even despite their current rigidity and they do not need elucidation on Moscow's importance and significance. Disregarding noisy European marginals and concentrating on the European sector of its relations with the Euro-Atlantic community, Russia will be able not to lose the West as a whole, even if it loses America."



[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7032, Russia's Reactions To The New Round Of U.S. Sanctions – Part I, July 31, 2017.

[3], July 25, 2017.

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