On May 7, Vladimir Putin, who won nearly 77% of the vote, was inaugurated for his fourth term as president of Russia. Those in the West who wish Moscow ill keep on repeating their mantra about the need to isolate the country and its leader on the international stage. The absence of Russia’s president at the G7 summit, the invented stories about election meddling in the US, the Skripal “spy poisoning” case that Moscow had nothing to do with — anything will do to support the fiction of “isolation.” They claim that Russia’s foreign policy has left it with few friends internationally. What we hear is the same old song about the long list of grievances against the Russian Federation that so upset the ill-wishers that they are eager to see that country completely cut off from global politics and relegated to isolation.
Is that policy working? With all their words about Moscow no longer being a full-fledged member of the international community, it’s the Western leaders themselves who are dooming this approach to failure. It was announced on the day of President Putin’s inauguration (May 7) that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would meet Vladimir Putin in Sochi, the famous Russian resort on the Black Sea, on May 18. This top-level meeting will take place after the EAEU summit is held at the same location on May 14.
There’ll be a lot of people coming to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 on May 24-26, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two will hold separate talks with the Russian leader. Vladimir Putin will visit Austria on June 5. Immediately afterward he’ll rush off to the SCO summit that will probably be held June 8-11 in Qingdao, China. The exact dates have not been announced as yet by the Chinese authorities for security reasons. There he’ll meet the leaders of China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
All in all, the president of Russia has quite a busy schedule. One has to be in perfect physical condition to participate in so many important events squeezed into such a short period of time.
French President Macron announced in the May 5 edition of the daily paper, Le Journal du Dimanche: “I want to hold a historic and strategic dialog with Vladimir Putin.” He spoke out against Russia’s isolation. The French leader wants to be a link that can connect Russia and Europe.
A Putin-Trump summit is in the cards. It’s not a meeting on the sidelines of some international forum but rather a full-fledged summit that is being discussed. The idea came from the US administration. The White House has mentioned Washington as one of the places a summit could take place. Vladimir Putin is ready to accept Donald Trump’s invitation. A meeting was part of the agenda the two presidents discussed during their phone conversation.
The leaders will also meet at the G20 summit that is to be held in Argentina Nov. 30-Dec 1.
The US may be even more interested than Moscow in holding top-level talks. Last year, it was the US, not Russia, who was given the cold shoulder at the G20 summit. The “America First” policy is isolating the US from world leaders, while Russia’s international clout has grown immensely, particularly in the Middle East, which the US has traditionally viewed as its own area of influence. Prominent Americans are questioning the global leadership of the US.
It is true that Russia is no longer a member of the G7 but the G20 has much broader base of representation that includes rapidly developing countries with swiftly growing global influence. The G20 is a mini-UN, where the world’s leading nations try to reach a consensus on urgent issues. As its profile rises, it is becoming more important than the G7. The membership in the group of seven (formerly eight), where they spend more time talking shop than making decisions, is not a big loss for Russia. The country has been transformed into a separate center of power that cannot be disregarded by anyone — not the G7 or any other group.
Russia is the world’s biggest country in terms of land mass and it has the sixth largest population. Russian is one of the ten most widely spoken languages in the world (used by around 300 million people). The Russian Federation is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with the right of veto power. It wields enormous influence over the countries of the former Soviet Union. Russia has restored its military might. Its nuclear arsenal is second to none. It has considerably larger reserves of tanks and armored vehicles than the US.
So many regional problems simply cannot be resolved without Russia’s input. It has become an indispensable power that is too strong and mighty to be isolated at somebody’s whim. As one can see, Russia’s international isolation is nothing but a myth, yet many Western media outlets and leaders continue to promote the idea, ignoring the obvious facts of the matter.