What can Putin really offer Trump for a deal?


International, More

The Russian and American media are full of stories in which various experts discuss what a deal between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump might look like, with almost all the attention going to the concessions Trump should make to Putin and much less to the issue of what Putin in fact can offer in exchange.

Thus, both Russian and US experts regularly talk about how the US could recognize Ukraine’s Crimea as legitimately part of Russia, end sanctions and recognize a Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet space. But these same experts say much less about what Putin would offer in exchange.

On the one hand, many commentators, both Russian and American, point to things that Russia is going to do anyway regardless of whether there is any grand deal or not, such as continue to use the fight against ISIS and Islamist extremism more generally to defend its own interests, as somehow requiring American concessions.

Or, on the other hand, they point to things that Putin probably can’t deliver on given his own domestic constituency in Russia’s force structures, such as a serious reduction in the number of nuclear warheads, something that would reduce Russia’s status in the world significantly given that it is unable to compete in most other sectors.

And so the question arises: why should someone who like President Trump has made “the art of the deal” and his ability to get the most out of any exchange for his own country ever agree to make concessions to Russia for things he will get even if he doesn’t make concessions or for promises that Putin will never make good on?

That Russian experts are happy to push for a deal in which almost all the benefits flow in their direction is no surprise, and perhaps it is less surprising than it should be that some of their American counterparts are doing so out of a narrow professional interest in expanding contacts and exchanges regardless of the broader costs.

But if Trump does this, if he violates the principles of his own approach to negotiations and his promise to always achieve more for the United States than it has to give to anyone else, that raises some even more disturbing questions about why he is doing this when he isn’t getting much in exchange besides the praise of those who don’t want to punish Putin for his crimes.

It is possible that the new American president does not yet recognize this situation or that he has been persuaded that the US has to take the lead in making concessions, but it is difficult to imagine that Trump will continue down that path for long, given that the premise of his career is getting more than his opposite numbers and given Putin’s penchant for not keeping his word.


Edited by: A. N.

Dear readers! Since you’ ve made it to this point, we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away, which is why it's extra important to provide news about Ukraine in English. We are a small independent journalist team on a shoestring budget, have no political or state affiliation, and depend on our readers to keep going (using the chanсe - a big thank you to our generous supporters, we couldn't make it without you.)  If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation

Tags: , , , , , , ,


  1. Avatar laker48 says:

    To make a long story short, the US army seriously wounded and captured ISIS leader al-Baghdadi after the most vicious America bombing ever of ISIS positions during the second day of Trump in office. RuSSia has nothing to offer Trump and RuSSian PM Medvedev has already warned the RuSSians that Western, especially US sanctions won’t be lifted in a foreseeable future.

    1. Avatar Murf says:

      Russia has nothing except cheep rocket engines and titanium to offer the US.
      As for the war on ISIS;
      East Mosul has been liberated. The Western side is encircled. There is much hard fighting ahead but the coalition of Iraqi Arabs and Kurds is holding to gather just fine. As long as they keep united the eventual liberation of the city is a forgone conclusion.
      In Syria the YPG/SDF are pushing ahead towards Raqqa on two fronts. the Turk Army/FSA are close to encircling Al Bab.
      Russia coalition on the other hand has proven very in effective against ISIS. They are barely holding on to the T-6 air base and are making no efforts at liberating Palmyra. Also the Syrian enclave at Deir ez Zor has been cut in two. They are holding on only through massive air support.
      Trump doesn’t need Putin to fight ISIS.
      Putin needs Trump.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        True, cheap rocket engines, but not good ones.

        Ukrainian engines in the Vega rocket have an excellent record, better than US engines even, and way beyond the Russian ones which have a tendency to explode at embarrassing (and expensive) moments.

        1. Avatar Murf says:

          The Russians are so hard up for help they are trying to buy Ukrains Zenit boosters.
          Their failure rate is approaching 50%.
          If they blow this next satellite placement for Angola, their Space Launch program will be hurting.
          This is Ironic considering they used to have one of the most reliable programs in the world.

      2. Avatar laker48 says:

        Actually, as of this year on, Ukrainian rocket engines will replace the RuSSian-made ones in American transportation rockets delivering supplies to the space station.

        1. Avatar Murf says:

          Saw a Video of the US troops arriving in Poland.
          Made me proud to see our two countries working closely together.
          I also saw we are going to be sending an Apache battalion to Poland also.
          I have been hoping for this since the 90s.

          1. Avatar laker48 says:

            There are more to come. Poland is negotiating the purchase of 96 second-hand F-16 fighter jets and 64 new F-35 Lightning IIs. There are also negotiations underway to move two or three wings of the US Air Force to Polish Air Forces’ airbases in Deblin, Krzesiny and Lask. US Raytheon has created a 50/50 joint venture with its Polish counterpart and will be manufacturing comprehensive defence systems against short and medium range missiles “Wisła” and anti-aircraft “Narew” based on the newest American, Israeli and Polish technologies. The Polish defence industrial sector has already introduced two or even three shift (round the clock) production systems.

          2. Avatar Murf says:

            Always good to hear how Poland doesn’t jack around on their security.
            I am glad the USAF will have a forward presence in Poland soon.
            I am still leery of the F-35 for the Polish Air Force, I think it will be a good plane but will be hideously expensive initially. Let the other countries eat the cost and buy an improved later model that has had the kinks worked out.
            Any news on their pic for an attack helicopter?

          3. Avatar laker48 says:

            From what I’ve heard, Poland is negotiating the takeover of the Canadian part of the F-35 R&D dropped by lucky sperm Trudeau, what would likely drop the price and move some manufacturing facilities into Poland.

  2. Avatar Alex George says:

    In a new version of desperation, the Russians/separatists are now booby-trapping cats: http://zik.ua/en/news/2017/01/20/separatists_boobytrap_cat_ukrainian_servicemen_save_animal_1029357

  3. Avatar Murf says:

    I have asked the Trolls the same question since Trump won the election; What are they willing to give up to get the sanctions lifted.
    They never see to have an answer. For some reason they think Trump’s desire to reopen dialog with Putin means Trump will just give away the farm with nothing asked in return.
    Trumps recent statement on lifting sanctions in exchange for cuts in their nuclear forces was just an initial negotiation position. Like him or not Trump is all about negotiating.
    But it does make clear he is not just going to give Putin free reign.
    A price will have to be paid.
    Putin and company should remember Trump will have to make it a balanced deal that benefits the US in a tangible way . He blasted Obama for a weak nuclear treaty with Iran. He is the ultimate Washington outsider who never even ran for ANY public office. He MUST prove he is the real thing and not; “All suit and no substance” or he will be the laughing stock of the White House.
    So Russians should start coming to terms with what even lifting the sanctions will cost.

  4. Avatar veth says: