Special Counsel Robert Muller has been investigating into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The congressional committees have begun questioning former Director of FBI James Comey, who was sacked by President Trump, present Director of CIA and Director of National Intelligence agency, apart from Attorney General of Justice Department and son-in-law of Donald Trump Jared Kushner.
Meanwhile, President Trump's tweets day in and day out make things more complicated. The President's decision to fire Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) James Comey one day ahead of the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kishlak on May 10 raised eyebrows in the Congress. FBI Director was involved in investigation of Russian meddling in internal affair of the United States. According to Comey, Trump requested Director to dismiss inquiry about involvement with Russian administration by his fired National Security Advisor Retired Lt-Gen Michael Flynn. This has been reflected during congressional hearing in which former FBI Director recounted Trump's approach to abandon investigation of retired Army General. Trump denied the allegations made by former FBI Director.
Against this backdrop Trump held his first meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 07 for more than two hours. Trump has come under severe criticism from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers discussing certain issues with Putin. Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of Armed Services committee in the Senate, and Senator Lindsey Graham criticised Trump for agreeing to partner with Russia on cybersecurity. Senator Marco Rubio of the Republican Party also blasted President. It is understood from newspaper reports that Trump now has backed out from the proposal.
It is hardly possible to reset relations with Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation. During the presidency of George Bush, Vladimir Putin invaded South Ossetia, part of Georgia, in August of 2008, on the pretext of saving Russian population there while he opposed tooth and nail recognition of Kosovo by the United States. Vladimir Putin considered Kosovo was part and parcel of Serbia with whom Russia has had century-old relation. As of now Russia has not recognised Kosovo. During Barack Obama period, the Russian President annexed Crimea Peninsula of Ukraine on March 18, 2014 in violation of international agreements
The psyche of President Vladimir Putin, who rose to the pinnacle of glory as President of Russian Federation in January of 2000, needs to be seen from the prism of the Soviet Union. During the Soviet period Vladimir Putin was Senior officer in KGB from St. Petersburg. He did not accept the reality of the break-up of the Soviet Union and is reputed have remarked "end of the Soviet Union was the worst geopolitical event of the twentieth century." According to Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of state, "Putin pursued an aggressive vision of a Greater Russia that unnerved his neighbours and conjured up bad memories of Soviet expansionism."
Putin does not find any reason why US-led NATO should exist while Soviet-led Warsaw Pact was dissolved after the end of the cold war. In fact, Putin's views were reciprocated by Donald Trump during his presidential election campaign when he ovserved "NATO became obsolete". Putin was the first foreign dignitary to congratulate Donald Trump and the Russian Parliament burst into applause on confirmation of victory of Donald Trump.
However, for all the dreams of Trump as presidential candidate to develop "fantastic relations" with "very smart" guy Vladimir Putin and his two-hour-long closed-door meeting with him as president on July 07, the US-Russia relations remain at the lowest ebb as of now.
The writer is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh.
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