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January 23, 2022
EDITORIAL

New Start 2010 under D. Trump’s magnifying glass (I)

After massive fears – which are still fairly persistent in the global public opinion, but also within the chancelleries of the great systemic actors – that Trump’s new administration would induce a change of substance to the current world order, Pax Americana, it seems official Washington is regaining its necessary rhythm. Of course, President Trump continues to say main stream media (MSM) produces “fake news.”

Last Saturday, for instance, he wrote the following tweet: “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!” – the great New York-based daily as well as the ‘Washington Post’ being among his favourite targets. Beyond the demonstrations taking place under the hashtag #resist, hence in opposition to the new administration elected last November, it seems that what analysts are calling the process of “normalisation” is in full swing. In other words, President Donald Trump, who in the elections campaign but also during the first days of his mandate suggested he would promote massive global transformations – we are not talking about those that concern domestic measures, where he continues to apply them (the annihilation of Obamacare or immigration), but about those related to foreign policy –, is in the process of “learning” the great international dossiers and is adjusting to them, refining his own announced options.

Whether some of those announced options are simply abandoned, at least for the immediate future (as is the case with the policy toward China), whether some are corrected or others are maintained but in less publicly blunt forms. It’s difficult to assess whether this process of “normalisation” is really taking place and at what rhythm, with two camps already existing, one of sceptics who do not believe in the abandoning/refining of the presidential options, and one of optimists. The latter glimpses D. Trump falling within the traditional lines of American foreign policy, whose determined opponent he had declared himself to be, hence a consolidation of Pax Americana.

What we do know however is that this process, if real and not the president’s dilatory tactic, has its starting point in the resignation of General James Flynn in mid-February 2017, after just three weeks in office. Ongoing ample speculations are blaming the general’s resignation on impermissible links with Russian officials in the U.S. before the president officially took over his mandate. Moreover, speculations do not end here, but go as far as to deem President Trump at fault for these illegal links. Especially since certain details of these ties – such as the alleged visit one of Trump’s lawyers paid to Prague early last year in order to meet Russian agents involved in the hacking of the Democratic Convention – have become subjected to intense and transparent research that involve a number of truth seekers – specialists or not – who are permanently in contact on social networks. How much truth is there in these speculations, whether the main U.S. intelligence agencies are carefully monitoring this dossier and will make disclosures or not, it’s once again a matter of speculation.

An important stage in the so-called process of “normalisation” in foreign policy approaches is offered by an interview that President Trump gave to the Reuters press agency last Friday (February 24), an interview he deemed “big” on his own Twitter account. Listing the presidential foreign policy options presented in this interview offers unexpected surprises. Let’s mention one of them, with the observation that it is not the only one.

If until now D. Trump seemed to be a determined opponent of the European Union – which generated growing worries that persist on the old continent, so much so that a German diplomat of W. Itschinger’s repute talked about a “non-military declaration of war” against Europe –, in the aforementioned interview the president introduces a nuance which may be announcing a substantial change of orientation. When asked whether he supports the EU as a “governing body,” Trump answers: “I do, sure. I have very good relations with the EU. But I thought that the UK would pull out of Brexit and I was right. … But the EU, I’m totally in favor of it. I think it’s wonderful, if they’re happy. If they’re happy – I’m in favor of it.” Hence, from encouraging other EU states to follow the Brexit example and thus to dismantle the EU, Trump falls back and declares himself “totally” in favour of the European organisation, provided its members are “happy” with its existence. Which, of course, does not rule out encouraging those who are “unhappy.”

But in that interview, referring to the relations with Russia, which represents today the hottest topic and not just inside the U.S., President Trump pointed out only one of the topics that make up the weighty bilateral agenda, namely the issue of the strategic arms limitation treaty, especially the latest one, namely New Start, signed in April 2010. According to the U.S. President, “it’s a one-sided deal like all other deals we make. It’s a one-sided deal. It gave them things that we should have never allowed. … Just another bad deal that the country made, whether it’s START, whether it’s the Iran deal, which is one of the bad deals ever made. Our country only made bad deals, we don’t make good deals. So we’re going to start making good deals.” And he went on to say that “to me, it’s a big deal… If I meet (Putin), if and when we meet, I would bring it up. It’s a big deal. Because it’s a violation of an agreement we have.”

We deem it necessary to make two very important observations about these presidential assessments. First, that the American-Russian ‘New Start’ treaty of April 2010 is one-sided, so it is allegedly detrimental for the U.S., without him however mentioning the shortcomings that make it a “bad deal.” Second: this treaty is “just another bad deal that the country made,” whether we are talking about Start or the “Iran deal,” so the latter is detrimental too and hence it would be put back on the negotiations table.

What is interesting here, precisely because of the existence in the public opinion of the issue of a “big deal” between the U.S. and Russia, forecast by D. Trump before the November elections – which also prompted the yet unelucidated resignation of James Flynn –, is to identify where is the ‘New Start’ detrimental to the U.S. and how this agreement on strategic arms was violated by Russia.

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