After the June summit of the leaders of Russia and the United States in Geneva, it appeared to many that Putin and Biden finally gave rise to dialogue. However, something went wrong, and the US-Russian relationship is still infinitely hopeless. Washington habitually takes on the tone of the prosecutor against Moscow, which rules out any compromise.
Back in June, immediately after the Putin-Biden summit, the willingness of the United States to "clear up the rubble" in bilateral relations was highly questionable. US President Joe Biden even gave the Russian authorities six months or a year to "release people from prisons" and restore order in the field of cybersecurity. Biden's ultimatum-like requirements sounded ridiculous as Russia could also make a lot of reciprocal claims against the US authorities, but this is not the path that leads to mutual understanding and good relations.
Not too long ago, it transpired that Russia was allegedly preparing a military invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. News agencies of the world reported Russia's military buildup on the border with Ukraine. Moscow denied such assumptions, but the West continued trumpeting about another portion of sanctions against Russia while promising military assistance to Ukraine. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his deputy Victoria Nuland announced that "aggressive" Russia would face with high-impact economic measures and more sanctions that it had never seen before.
Journalists and politicians in the West speak of the imminent military conflict as something beyond doubt. Joe Biden did not stand aside either and promised to make it "very, very hard" for Russian President Vladimir Putin to take military action against Ukraine. He assured journalists that he had known about Russia's actions for a long time, and therefore intended to hold a long discussion with Putin. It is difficult not to agree with official representative of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova, who said that Washington was conducting a special operation to aggravate the situation around Ukraine to shift responsibility for the crisis on Russia. In general, this is common tactics that Washington resorts to, but "the scale of impudence and lies" is impressive.
Assessing the above-mentioned threats from the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that they would boomerang on their instigators. According to Lavrov, Western colleagues have completely lost the culture of dialogue, diplomatic negotiations, consensus efforts and the ability to creatively seek a balance of interests. Indeed, after British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss rode a NATO tank near the Russian border in Estonia, Lavrov's "diagnosis" looks too prosaic.
It is not enough for the West to drag the countries of the former socialist camp and the Baltic states into the ranks of the North Atlantic Alliance — they want Ukraine and Georgia there too.
Putin frequently resorts to NATO's eastward expansion despite all the verbal promises that the West had given. Russia's legitimate security concerns are still being ignored. Therefore, Putin proposed negotiations with the United States and its allies to work out specific agreements that would contain legally binding guarantees to prevent NATO's expansion eastward.
Sergei Lavrov expanded on Putin's points at a recent meeting of the OSCE Council of Foreign Ministers. The transformation of Russia's neighboring countries into a springboard for confrontation with Moscow, the deployment of NATO forces in the immediate vicinity of strategically important areas is strongly unacceptable. Moscow defines the creation of such threats as the red lines that should not be crossed.
Unfortunately, the West is ready to take a chance on peace in Europe for the sake of its geopolitical ambitions, and it appears at times that Western officials do not realise the danger of slipping into a large-scale war the consequences of which would be unpredictable for the world.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Moscow could not veto Ukraine's admission to the alliance. Russia has no rights to build its spheres of influence and attempt to control its neighbors, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. One shall assume that it is only the West that has the right to build its spheres of influence.
Sober voices amid this anti-Russian hysteria can still be heard at times. For example, Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, called on the Biden administration to recognize that America's leverage was limited. The United States, in all likelihood, will not be able to coerce Putin to unilateral concessions. Washington's carrot and stick policy is repetitive and uneventful: there is always pressure against Moscow, and all kinds of support for Ukraine.
Samuel Charap believes that the United States could push Kiev to hold a general amnesty or promote constitutional amendments on the special status of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Parliament? This could defuse the current crisis and prevent a potential catastrophe. Biden will have to push Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements, to a compromise, the American expert believes.
According to Hamilton College Professor Alan Cafruny, the rise in tensions between the United States and Russia over the past few months is largely a consequence of the Geneva summit.
There are forces in the US foreign policy establishment that put tremendous pressure on the Biden administration to prevent any rapprochement with Moscow.
For the time being, the United State "cooperates" with Russia by increasing the supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine, holding naval maneuvers in the Black Sea and flying NATO military aircraft near Russia's airspace.
A vicious circle ensues: Washington's actions provoke a new round of Russian military mobilization, which inspires Biden's bellicose critics at home even more. There is a danger that the escalation will push Kiev to committing a fatal mistake, as it happened to Georgia in 2008. Cafruny considers Putin's initiatives to be justified, since his requirement for the non-expansion of NATO could become a starting point for negotiations.
Successful test launches of the Zircon hypersonic missile appear to be a good argument in negotiations with Washington. Putin made it clear that the appearance of attack complexes in Ukraine would not go unanswered. The hawks in the White House need to be arrogant fools not to understand such clear messages from the Kremlin.
Western countries actively support Ukraine in words, but they are able to provide less and less real help. This opinion was expressed by the former head of the military intelligence of the Czech Republic, Major General Andor Sandor, in an interview with the Parliamentní listy.