I have one message for Vladimir Putin. Ignore the United States at the federal legislative and much of the judicial level, for the most part regarding serious cooperation. It is nearing a complete dysfunction and dedicated at the bureaucratic level to doing you and your government in for the most part.
Even with Donald Trump, one of its best executives at the US helm albeit with his imperfections, if Congress cannot pass health reform, it certainly will be unable to deal with or let a major reform with US relations with Russia happen. At least for a very good long while.
Trump deserves Russia’s respect but much of the rest is just too far gone to help to coordinate any serious positive developments for peace, security and economic cooperation between the two countries for years.
What this sadly means is that Moscow sees little reason not to be assertive against NATO and not to be highly independent in its Middle East policy. In the face of this, Putin can play his domestic card still to keep his strong popularity that uses the image of Washington remaining a chaotic hegemon that requires a sane, well-tested Russian government to keep order at home and help to fashion it abroad. Washington is Putin’s biggest promotional card.
I believe this means that in the next years that there will be more acts of provocation snd counter provocation. That you can completely say goodbye to non-interference by both Washington and NATO in particular on one side and Russia on the other side. This means that politics will get more polarized and Putin will be able to have a huge base at home to play hybrid snd assymetric warfare if he thinks he needs to. The Chinese will make it impossible to economically isolate Russia and even possibly India to a smaller degree.
The opposition protests in Moscow recently may grow, encouraged on my the western Deep State and media sources plus people like Soros. But Putin has so consolidated his power that nothing will come of it. Worst there are likely much darker forces in Russia likely to do just about anything to stop NATO from bringing Russia into it value orbit.
These dark forces have focused on brutal approaches internally but given their deep pockets, global reach and organization who knows what they are capable of doing externally. They have no problem would be my guess of creating havoc through populist western party encouragement to financial leverage and well beyond that.
Worse, the West seems to be at the beginning of some kind of civilizational meltdown, Moral decadance coinciding with massive debt, underemployment, banking corruption and political division, which makes it weak. It is thus no coincidence that hard nosed, top down leaders like Trump are getting elected and even Chancellor Merkel is running around now talking tough about having much more solid European borders against illegal refugee flows in Europe.
With such breakdown in the West in law and order, security with upsurges in terrorism ,Putin just needs to ask Eastern Europe or Russians, is this the model you want? Then there is Brexit and Fillon, French presidential candidate being practically put in the dock on corruption charges that make it look like Europe’s establishment cannot hold their Union together nor reach out to Russia.
Again the words “unreliable partner” and “decadent” keep coming up on how orthodox Russians and more and more Eastern Europeans see the West. And Putin will run a truck through it taking every advantage of these weaknesses if he perceives NATO as continuing to be too aggressive and sanctions are maintained or increased.
For Trump what can he do as his own legislature and the judicary keeps undermining him all the time including the media. The latter he may have dealt with well enough. But it may takes years for him to sort through the legislative and judicial minefields. Deep State bureaucratic ones are also persistent.
My conclusion is not profound but deeply worrying. You have seen nothing yet in how bad relations between Washington and Moscow can get. Read my book, Operation: Golden Bear to get just one potential scenario about how bad things can descend. And the destruction Moscow may be capable of commuting itself to if it feels too cornered and pushed around.
While Congress fiddles, it undermines both domestic and global stability and thereby the Russians just keep refining their games by filling the space it keeps being given. The grand master “chess player” in the Kremlin just shakes his head at the self political carnage Washington and even EU Brussels insiders create. And runs another victory lap even when parts of his new Rome burn too. This is very sad except for the arms and security “industries” and those politicians it feeds.