Sergei Lavrov, President Trump, and Sergei Kislyak in the Oval Office on Wednesday. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
When President Trump handed foreign policy over to his generals a few weeks ago, his plans for a new détente with Russia were dead in the water, and Secretary of State Tillerson was more or less out of the picture.
That was then. As of Wednesday, when Trump and Tillerson held separate talks in Washington with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, improved ties with Moscow are back on the table, and Tillerson appears to hold the U.S.–Russia portfolio.
Donald Trump’s Washington is nothing if not a hard, erratic read.
It’s too soon to conclude that Lavrov’s visit—the first by a Russian cabinet minister since Trump took office—marks a decisive turn. But the early signs are it will. That would be a major victory for Trump and begin a fundamental shift in the confrontational Russia policy the Obama administration handed him.
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WNU Editor: If we were living in the days of the Soviet Union .... the Communist hardliners would be using the current turmoil and anti-Soviet/Russian rhetoric from Washington against those in Moscow who are advocates of detente. But those days are gone .... the Communist hardliners are gone .... and there is a different approach and mindset in the Kremlin when it comes to east-west relations. What is that mindset .... the need to have a positive and constructive relationship with the West .... and to prioritise the need to solve major differences .... Ukraine, Syria, arms control to just name a few. This is what I have always liked about President Trump .... he has always been consistent on the need to change the dialogue and approach towards Moscow while looking for common ground. .... and we certainly saw this policy in play during the Trump - Lavrov meeting this week. Will President Trump succeed .... I do not know. The media, Democrats, and many within the Republican party are using President Trump's outreach and ties with Russia against him .... accusations of electoral collusion, being financially obligated over past business deals, and the Russians having in their possession evidence on Trump that can be used as blackmail .... this is just a small summary of what I have seen since the election as the reasons on why President Trump should not be in office. My prediction .... Russia wants a new reset, and President Trump has signalled likewise .... this is going to move forward even with the politics that are now in play in Washington, and doubly so after the G20 meeting when President Trump finally meets Russian President Putin face to face. And while I do know that many in the West will try to torpedo this outreach and evolving relationship .... it is going to be difficult because momentum is not on their side.