The meeting between Lavrov and Tillerson: Washington will not present its vision of the world to Moscow. He hasn’t get any.

Source: Flickr/US State Department

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Moscow on April 11. This is his first visit to the Russian capital in this capacity and the first visit of a representative of the administration of Donald Trump to Russia.


On the agenda there are key issues of Russian-American relations: Syria, Crimea, Ukraine, nuclear and missile parity, sanctions, relations with Iran, North Korea. For both parties, this is an opportunity to lay out maps on the table and to present each other their strategic vision of the world order, as well as plans for solving specific problems. Theoretically, such a discussion should have come to be the main leitmotif of the meeting. Having a more or less clear idea of what each country wants strategically, both Russia and the US could more competently build a policy towards each other, understanding what they can expect from each other.

Global Strategy Issues

The fundamental problem is that in both countries lack a strategic vision of the world order there are want. In Russia, we see a balance between a course toward a multipolar world and attempts to integrate into a hegemonic (both in realist and Gramscian senses) system - a peripheral realism. At the same time, the last pole is weakened due to the fact that the hegemon - the United States, with the arrival of the new administration did not offer a holistic foreign policy strategy. However, the positions of globalist agents of influence in Russia are very strong. It is evidenced by the fact that on the eve of Tillerson's visit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deemed spoke on the topic of Russian-American relations with members of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, de facto representing the CFR interests in Russia.

Influence of neocons

Already in the pre-election speeches and in the selection of Trump's foreign policy team, a combination of mutually exclusive principles and figures - supporters of the realist approach and neocons and liberal interventionists - was noticeable. As far as compromises with the republican establishment, Trump's original anti-hegemonistic, realistic, anti-globalist message (Steven Miller was the main speechwriter) on the understanding of America as a great, but national power, was blurred. The influence of the neocons increased.  The structures of the Israeli lobby and personally the son-in-law of Trump Jared Kushner contributed much to the process, although some of the neocons (John Bolton, Walid Phares, Joe Schmitz), were initially surrounded the future US president, having common points with figures such as M. Flynn and S. Bannon on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Iranian sentiments.

The role of CFR

At the same time, the influence of the Council on Foreign Relations remains strong both in the American Deep State and Trump’s team. Even during the campaign, Trump called CFR director Richard N. Haas one of the people with whom he consults on foreign policy issues. And the influence of this center grows parallel to the influence of the neocons. As part of the current National Security Council, Dina Powell, a member of the CFR who worked earlier in the administration of George W. Bush and headed the Goldman Sachs foundation, became the key deputy of National Security Adviser.
A whole cohort of people from this bank, which became a symbol of liberal globalism, which in the structure of the CFR has the status of a "founder", went to the Trump administration. These are the Minister of Finance - Stephen Mnuchin (also collaborated with George Soros), Gary Cohn-President Goldman Sachs - Senior Economic Policy Advisor, head of the National Economic Council. Minister of Commerce Wilbur Ross, "King of Bankruptcies" most of his life worked for another symbol of globalism - the Rothschilds.

The positions of the three camps on Russia

If realists (Bannon and people close to him, Tillerson) do not strive for a tough confrontation with Russia and their vision of the world is consistent with how the Russian side sees it, then the representatives of the CFR and the neocons are determined to conflict. The difference between liberal globalists from the CFR and the neocons is only that the latter are ready to confront China, while the former are interested in preserving the Chimerica model as the core of the globalization process and understand the danger of war on two fronts. This model certainly does not describe the complexity of the relationship between these three camps. Bannon, for example, started his career at Goldman Sachs and is associated with the founder of the infamous Blackwaters Eric Prince, now working with China, neocons are represented in the CFR, etc.

No loud statements

Most of the meeting between Lavrov and Tillerson will take place behind closed doors. In public, Tillerson, as a person accused of links with Russia, will not make loud statements. The Russian side will act cautiously, realizing that what Tillerson will come without either a consolidated opinion of the Group of Seven or the long-term priorities of the Trump team itself, and so the agreements on something are premature. While the struggle of influence groups will not determine the winner.