Except for cooperating during WW II to defeat Nazism, America has been largely adversarial toward Russia for the past century.
On Saturday, Trump and Putin spoke by phone. Discussion lasted nearly an hour. Both leaders agreed to continue “regular personal contacts.”
They’ll meet later in the year for face-to-face talks on an unspecified date at a mutually acceptable venue. A White House statement said the following:
“The positive call was a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair.”
“Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today’s call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern.”
A more detailed Kremlim press service statement said “(t)he pressing international problems, including tackling terrorism, the developments in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the strategic stability and non-proliferation area, the situation around Iran’s nuclear program and the Korean Peninsula were discussed in detail.”
“The key aspects of the Ukrainian crisis have been touched upon as well. It has been agreed to establish partner-type cooperation in those and other areas.”
“The presidents spoke in favor of creating real coordination of Russian and American actions with a purpose to defeat the ISIL and other terrorist groups in Syria.”
“Both sides demonstrated their will to take joint steps to stabilize and expand the cooperation between Russia and the United States, on a constructive, equal and mutually beneficial basis.”
“It was stressed that it is important to restore the mutually advantageous trade and economic ties between business circles of the two countries, which could further enhance a gradual and sustainable development of bilateral relations.”
Saturday’s conversation was the first one between both leaders since Trump’s inauguration. One phone call doesn’t erase a century of US-instigated hostility, its longstanding plans for regime change, thousands of US-led heavily armed NATO forces positioned provocatively on Russia’s borders, and virtually the entire Congress opposed to normalized relations.
Putin reportedly told Trump he sees Washington as Russia’s most important partner in fighting the scourge of terrorism.
After his deceptive reset outreach, Obama hugely soured bilateral relations. Stepping back from the brink won’t be easy, warm relations likely impossible after adversarial ones for so long.
Bipartisan congressional consensus irresponsibly considers Putin public enemy number one. America’s intelligence community and major media challenged Trump’s legitimacy.
Congress may block lifting sanctions on Russia by executive order. Trump said he’s open to doing it “if we can make some good (bilateral) deals…”
He tweeted and publicly said having good relations with Russia is a good thing. He warned only “fools” believe otherwise.
Moscow is no stranger to US duplicity, its practice of saying one thing and doing another. Putin will proceed cautiously in relations with Trump.
He’ll welcome anything positive, knowing things can change unacceptably any time for any reason. It happened so many times before.
Last week, addressing Russia’s lower house State Duma, Sergey Lavrov said “(w)e have no illusions that there will be a new reset with the United States. We have no naive expectations.”