‘If Trump doesn’t take abrupt foreign policy actions, there is a 90% probability that he will be re-elected’
Sergey Vostrikov on what awaits world’s most mentioned politicians in 2020
Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky have become the most mentioned people on the world political stage in 2019. In an interview with Realnoe Vremya, expert in international relations and foreign politics, Doctor for Historical Sciences Sergey Vostrikov said if there could be serious changes in the political career of President Putin’s American and Ukrainian colleagues and what and who their stability depended on.
“Enough compromising information about representatives of the US Democratic Party was collected in Ukraine”
Mr Vostrikov, it has been the next nervous year for the American president — the Democrats held the impeachment inquiry because of his talk with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky when Donald Trump allegedly promised military and financial assistance to Ukraine in exchange for actuation of the investigation into US ex-Vice President Joseph Biden’s son. Will this seriously influence Trump’s chances of being re-elected next November?
Trump’s electoral campaign won’t be simple, and this campaign, in fact, has already begun — the goal of the Democrats’ “project” of the president’s impeachment is to complicate Trump’s task, that’s to say, his re-election for the second term. However, it will be impossible to do what same Bill Clinton was about to do in 1998 due to the Republicans’ control over the upper chamber of the US Congress.
But the Democrats will partly manage to put a spoke in the president’s wheel: to prevent his freedom of choice in the external political sphere, the next set of sanctions can again be imposed against Russia or China. Here Trump has his hands tied — if he doesn’t impose these sanctions, it will be considered as disruption of US national values and even national betrayal.
But Trump hasn’t played his trump card in this game, the game is just kicking off. And if the US president has it, and they are serious. Familiar Americanists told me that Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giuliani went to Ukraine for a reason: according to them, there he collected enough compromising information about “the guys from the Democratic opposition”, and it will be a serious blow to the opponents in the summer and autumn of 2020.
But this isn’t the point. Trump has very firm positions in his Republican Party, and the party is quite solidly consolidated around the president, while there was no such thing in the previous election. Also, Trump’s electorate has expanded a bit since the 2016 election — there a good economic situation in the USA, good economic growth pace, and, first of all, an employment rise is plain to see. One can’t omit this fact with slogans, urges and accusations of Trump. And if the president doesn’t take any abrupt foreign policy actions, there is an 85-90% probability that he will be elected for the second term.
Trump has very firm positions in his Republican Party, and the party is quite solidly consolidated around the president, while there was no such thing in the previous election
Though the Democrats will do their best to drag the same impeachment to complicate Trump’s electoral campaign. Trump’s witnesses of Trump and Zelensky’s talk will be very inconvenient for Joseph Biden, a presidential candidate from the Democrats. And for many others.
“The Democrats, unlike Trump, are taking a course for strangling and depleting Russia and they will take advantage of this theme to the full”
Are all candidates from the Democrats not dangerous for Trump?
A lack of consistency and an interfactional squabble is seen in the Democrats’ party. There is a lot of candidates, not to mention key candidates, who quite fiercely compete with each other, and here billionaire Michael Bloomberg meddled in this fight. Bloomberg is rather an attempt at bringing the Democrats together and providing their material and information infrastructure because after Trump is elected for the second term, there will be a question: who will lead the weakened Democratic Party further? Hillary Clinton isn’t a player any more, the one who will lose the 2020 election (highly likely Biden or somebody from the Left) will be a “downed pilot”, while Bloomberg will be the one who tries to conserve the foundation, the skeleton of the Democrats. He won’t be a candidate because he has always been a local politician and more a businessman.
What can the Democrats appeal to? Russophobia, that’s to say, the imposition of infernal and superinfernal sanctions against Russia because the Democrats and Republicans have never had major discrepancies, especially in their foreign policy strategy. Both considered and consider that America must be the world’s number one, but the Democrats, unlike Trump, are taking a course for strangling and depleting Russia where the economy is the weakest link, and they will take advantage of this theme to the full.
Trump is a pragmatist, he imposes sanctions against Russia because not Russia but China is a middle- and long-term threat to them in the US foreign policy strategy. But it isn’t easy for American analysts to guess an access code to the Chinese “box” — to isolate China, the Americans need to either get rid of Russia (because this country cannot be stopped if China has Russian oil and gas) or win it over. Both are problematic, and Trump knows it.
There is a lot of candidates, not to mention key candidates, who quite fiercely compete with each other, and here billionaire Michael Bloomberg meddled in this fight
“Zelensky had a chance of getting a grip on everything, to show who wore the trousers, but he didn’t take advantage of it”
Now let’s talk about another character of 2019, who is even more famous, at least in the post-Soviet space. What prospects does Volodymyr Zelensky have? Can 2020 be a successful year for the Ukrainian president because in 2019 he anyway established a dialogue with Russia, which is considered as an enemy by a lot of citizens in Ukraine?
It isn’t bad in itself that Moscow has a dialogue with Zelensky. Zelensky isn’t Poroshenko who didn’t hold talks with us even since 2016, and it is already good that a meeting of the Normandy Four is scheduled in Berlin in April 2020, and exchange of captives and signing of a new gas contract were planned soon.
The president of Ukraine is a cunning person, he considers that he can outmanoeuvre and outsmart Putin regarding Donbass politically and diplomatically. But many did so in the Ukrainian administration previously, and Zelensky hasn’t succeeded yet. It is no surprise when you face political heavyweight athletes who have a great experience in this big politics. Of course, he will gain experience as time goes by, but at the moment his weak point is clearly seen — it is the absence of a will. A president always must have a political will.
Here there is an impact of that Zelensky didn’t have a programme, many of its members didn’t have political experience. Look, the president of Ukraine himself had a chance of getting a grip on everything when he came to power, that’s to say, appointing his people to the Security Service, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs. So he could have shown who wore the trousers. And Mr Zelensky didn’t do it. He had to leave Arsen Avakov to chair the Ministry of Internal Affairs who, by the way, is cementing his position in Ukraine already assessing the president’s actions, which, for instance, could be utter audacity in Russia.
The president of Ukraine is a cunning person, he considers that he can outmanoeuvre and outsmart Putin regarding Donbass politically and diplomatically. But many did so in the Ukrainian administration previously, and Zelensky hasn’t succeeded yet
What is more, Zelensky’s team isn’t a gift, and many Ukrainian experts assume that Oleksiy Honcharuk’s government will exhaust itself in the summer of 2020 due to its incompetence in the economic sphere and be replaced, while Avakov’s candidacy can be offered for the vacant position as the premier.
“The figure of Avakov is key to Ukraine in 2020”
If the government doesn’t decide and do anything, Avakov’s character will appear out of inaction. The latter isn’t focused on Brussels and Paris but Washington. Washington or, more precisely, George Soros will influence processes in Ukraine. The country needs money, and Soros can give it through same NPOs.
As Ukraine’s economic issues will get worse in 2020, while the problem of Donbass won’t be solved quickly, Zelensky’s state won’t be better. And since Ukrainian radicals have a lot of weapons, and the country has a Galitsky factor, the factor a “special stance” of residents of western regions, Zelensky might see Ukraine disintegrating in 2020.
The case is that if the issue of the special status of Donbass is set as agenda, the issue of the same status can arise in other ethnic-religious regions of the country — in the regions where Romanians, Hungarians and Rusyns live and, let’s say, in Odessa, which used to be a free city. And what will remain after Ukraine then? This is why here everything will be under control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, though it has remained aloof from political processes, and under control of the Security Service of Ukraine, which is in the hands of the USA, as a lot of American advisers work there. This is why the figure of Avakov is key to Ukraine in 2020.
If the government doesn’t decide and do anything, Avakov’s character will appear out of inaction. The latter isn’t focused on Brussels and Paris but Washington
And the decision to separate troops and the ceasefire in Donbass can be real achievements for Zelensky himself in 2020. But if there is a corridor between the sides after the troops are separated, who will control it? Either “Makhnoites” will get there, which means possible looting and theft, or peacemakers will get there. But their appearance in Donbass in 2020 isn’t possible — it is a very tough operation.