Cooperation, Not Concessions

Even before his inauguration, Donald Trump suggested that Russia reduce its nuclear arsenal in exchange for lifting sanctions. The “hawk” John McCain advised the new president to deal with Moscow from a position of strength, as Ronald Reagan once did.

Is the United States really expecting concessions from us like in the ’80s and ’90s? Does it think we will do anything to get the sanctions lifted?

I am certain there is no one in Moscow who won’t ask to lift sanctions. Yes, we consider them to be evil, but we are a great power, and we will not be humiliated. If the Americans think that removing sanctions is in their national interest, fine. If not, we will live on. It is nothing new for us. Russia has been living against the background of Western pressure for hundreds of years.

However, it is a fact that the sanctions are not only hurting us, but the United States as well. It is impossible to combat international terrorism if you introduce sanctions against the leaders of the Russian special forces. It is impossible to address global political problems if you introduce sanctions against Russian lawmakers. Through sanctions, we are told: “You are our enemies.” But you do not cooperate with enemies.

What should we do? We should find mutually beneficial projects where we can cooperate with the Americans without kowtowing or hurting our own interests. We must never repeat the tragic experiences of the late ’80s and early ’90s, when we threw ourselves at the mercy of the West. However, we should not wait and drag our feet. We must help Trump right now. He needs allies. He needs applause, and we will give him that applause. Just as Americans once had “Gorbymania” for Gorbachev, we need “Trumpomania.” We must support him as much as possible.

What are some possible areas of cooperation? American pilots could, for example, join the Russian-Turkish bombing campaign against Islamists in Syria. Russia and America could work together to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. Establishing a political system like that of the U.S. itself in Ukraine would be sufficient. This means strong federalism and defense of minority rights (that is, giving equal status to Russian and Ukrainian languages), along with complete freedom of speech, release of all political prisoners, and thorough de-Nazification (removal of right-wing officials), Russia and America could provide joint economic support to Ukraine.

Finally, American business could help by making significant investments in the Russian economy. It would be beneficial to us and to them.

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