The meeting of Putin and Trump: geopolitical significance

Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

The G-20 summit opened in Hamburg. On the agenda are issues of global cooperation, fighting poverty, helping Africa, and so on. However, the main event of the summit is the meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

Uneasy conversation

The meeting between Putin and Trump is expected to bring  first of all the establishment of personal relations. Regarding the agenda of the meeting, it was supposed to cover the three major world crises in the solution of which Russia and the United States are included: the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and the situation in North Korea. The positions of Russia and the United States on all three issues are very different. The United States supports the Kiev junta in Ukraine and does not recognize the annexation of the Crimea to Russia, strikes the allies of Russia: Shiite formations and the troops of Bashar Assad in Syria and advocate increased pressure on North Korea.
The main difficulty faced by both leaders is the US's inability to demonstrate even a willingness to compromise with the Russian side, as this will immediately be used by Trump's opponents in the United States, who have been fanning anti-Russian hysteria since his election.

Frames of the possible

The outcome of the meeting between the leaders of Russia and the United States will in any case demonstrate the relevance of classical geopolitical schemes. The interests of Russia as a Telurococratic power and the US as a Thallasocratic state are fundamentally opposite. However, both leaders as adherents of the realistic approach in international relations are ready to combine compromises and pressure in achieving their goals. Both  are realists, for whom the war is a natural state of things, understand the reality of the escalation of tension between countries right up to the military conflict and try to avoid it. How much they will succeed - will depend on whether Trump will be able to overcome the resistance of the neocons and liberal interventionists in the American establishment. However, in modern conditions the range of possibilities is not great: from the analogue of the "détente" of the Cold War times (tactical cooperation on a number of issues and strategic confrontation), to freezing the status quo situation with sanctions and lack of cooperation and transferring conflict confrontation to peripheral zones with maximum use of the proxy -sill to avoid an open military clash.