Trump could seek new «restart» with Russia says report

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A new report by the Centre For East European Policy Studies examines the possible policy implications of the Trump presidency in the United States as far as Latvia is concerned.

Titled Donald Trump - America First and written by researcher Martins Hirss (a graduate of New York University and currently a doctoral student at the University of Latvia), the report gives a thoughtful evaluation of the possible ways in which US policy in Central and Eastern Europe might change as a result of President Trump's actions.

"Trump has always been sympathetic towards strong, authoritarian national leaders including Vladimir Putin," the report points out, adding that as far as Latvia is concerned it is better for the US to take a principled stance on supporting its allies rather than pursuing "pragmatic cooperation with Russia, ignoring its aggression in Ukraine and Syria."

"In evaluating the possible changes in US foreign policy in Central and Eastern Europe, it is most likely, the US' security guarantees to NATO countries will not fundamentally change and the Baltic States will remain safe, as the US Congress, which approves the US defense budget, is currently highly favorable towards NATO and Baltic security.

"However, it can be predicted with a reasonable degree of certainty that the Trump administration will try to move closer to Russia. This has been signalled by Trump's refusal to criticize Russia and his statements on the lifting of sanctions," the report suggests.

"The most likely scenario is that Trump will seek to cooperate with Russia in the fight against Islamic State and other international agenda issues. There is also a high probability of a new "restart" in US relations with Russia," it says. 

"It is difficult to clearly predict the US President Donald Trump's foreign policy. However the countries on NATO's eastern flank have cause to be concerned about a possible change in US relations with Russia."

"Forgetting and forgiving Russian aggression in
Ukraine and Syria, and a new relationship "restart" would create a dangerous precedent. Such changes in US foreign policy would send a signal to Russia that Russia can aggressively use its armed forces to seize neighboring territory," the report concludes.

The full report (in Latvian only) can be read HERE.

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