Foreign Press Review (05.09-11.09)

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Last week has become extremely important for the Syrian conflict as on Saturday Russia and the United States announced that they had eventually reached an agreement after a long period of negotiations. It is worth noting that observers were quite reserved speaking about the possibility of a deal because US president Obama had recently claimed “gaps of trust” existed between the two governments. Moreover, US secretary of defense Ash Carter stressed that there was “a long way to go” before Moscow and Washington could reach an agreement on a form of ceasefire in Syria while US patience was not unlimited. Nevertheless, later last week Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and US secretary of state John Kerry managed to narrow the gaps and the new arrangement, which is set to start working on Monday, was presented to the public. However, the parties decided to keep the particular details of the deal in secret while it is clear that the world waits for joint strikes against ISIS and Nusra. Despite a multitude of questions still remaining on the table, at least the accord is a positive sign for Syrians suffering atrocities of war and, in the broader sense, for the Russia-West relations in general, particularly given the fact that the agreement between the Kremlin and the White House was elaborated amid strong opposition and skepticism among the US authorities. The agreement was welcomed, though cautiously, not only by world leaders, but also by the main parties to the conflict with UN’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura calling it a “window of opportunity”.

Meanwhile, a new act of the piece “Putin’s man in the White House?” was shown in the US. Last week at the NBC News “Commander-in-Chief forum” Republican nominee Donald Trump said that Putin “has been a leader, far more than our president [Obama] has been a leader” and added that he [Trump] “will be able to get along with him [Putin]” and have a “very good relationship” with the Russian president if elected in the November presidential elections. The Kremlin declined to respond to Donald Trump’s recent comment regarding the Russian president.  Trump’s words fuelled a new wave of criticism against the billionaire. “That is not just unpatriotic and insulting to the people of our country,” Hilary Clinton commented, “it is scary because it suggests he will let Putin do whatever Putin wants to do”. This week high-ranked American officials competed in their reaction to Trump’s statements comparing Putin and Obama. Nonetheless, the Republican candidate didn’t leave it at that and gave an interview to Larry King, which was then aired on RT America, the channel the US media tries to discredit calling it Kremlin’s mouthpiece. During the interview Donald Trump lambasted the US media accusing it of “unbelievable dishonesty”.

Now it seems that the public might have already witnessed the quintessence of this piece when the author of one of the many articles on the topic, which were published last week, wondered “who is not supporting Putin in the US”. He wrote: “The question is thus not about Trump’s admiration for Putin. The real question is “Who is not supporting Putin in the US? Obama is supporting him through his actions. Hillary is supporting him by voicing support for Obama’s foreign policy decisions. Is there any key contender or top official who is actually eager to stop Putin?” It seems that the answer will be presented in the short term while currently “Putin’s ghost” still flies over the US presidential campaign. 

Syrian conflict

Pleading With Putin on Syria

The Wall Street Journal


The Kremlin’s main goal is to get Ukraine sanctions lifted.

Syria’s world war: how the West allowed Russian and Iran to take control

By John Jenkins



As the civil war rages on, Syria has become a theatre for great-power rivalry, with Russia and Iran turning cynical opportunism into high policy.

Russia and the United States Reach New Agreement on Syria Conflict

By David E. Sanger and Anne Barnard

The New York Times


Russia and the United States agreed early Saturday on a new plan to reduce violence in the Syrian conflict that, if successful, could lead for the first time to joint military targeting by the two powers against Islamic jihadists in Syria.

America and Russia agree another ceasefire in Syria

The Economist


Why Mr Assad will be smiling at Mr Kerry’s latest deal with Russia to halt the fighting.


Russia-US relations

U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections

By Dana Priest, Ellen Nakashima and Tom Hamburger

The Washington Post


U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.

Russia Isn’t Trying To Elect Trump, It’s Trying To Undermine America’s Faith In Elections

By John Daniel Davidson

The Federalist


Russia doesn’t have to steal the election to accomplish its ultimate goal, which isn’t to elect Trump but to undermine America’s faith in elections.

The Kremlin really believes Hillary Clinton will start a war with Russia

By Clinton Ehrlich

The Chicago Tribune


If Hillary Clinton is elected president, the world will remember Aug. 25 as the day she began the Second Cold War.

Trump’s Love for Putin: a Presidential Role Model

By Steven Lee Myers

The New York Times


What is striking about Donald J. Trump’s latest effusion of admiration for Russia’s stony-faced leader, Vladimir V. Putin, is how similar it is to the way Mr. Putin is portrayed in Russia: as a necessary foil for an aggressive and flawed American leadership.

Donald Trump praised Vladimir Putin on the national stage again — here’s what it all means

By Allan Smith

Business Insider


Donald Trump is again under fire for warm comments he directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin, this time calling him a stronger leader than US President Barack Obama at a national-security forum this week.

G20 summit

How Putin and Xi Outsmarted Obama and the West at G20 Summit

By Anders Åslund



Putin broke his international isolation without having to abandon his aggression.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Russia, Already Reinserting Itself in Middle East, Enters Israeli-Palestinian Fray

By Peter Baker and Isabel Kershner

The New York Times


With the United States pulling back after years of frustrated efforts to break the intractable impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, Russia is stepping forward with its own drive to bring peace to a fractured land.

Russia-Japan relations

Mr. Abe Goes to Vladivostok

By James D.J Brown and Andrei I. Kozinets

The Diplomat


Abe’s embrace of Russia marks a radical shift from previous Japanese policy.

Russia’s foreign policy

How Putin conned us into thinking Russia is a superpower again

By John Simpson



Deeply disturbing things have happened during the Putin years in Russia, but his gamble has paid off.

Russia’s parliamentary elections

Russia: How to exercise political control

By Kathrin Hille

The Financial Times


The Kremlin is working to ensure this month’s poll bolsters rather than challenges the existing order.

Putin’s gamble on Russia’s Duma elections

By Nikolay Petrov

European Council on Foreign Relations


Putin has sought to improve the apparent transparency of the electoral process while simultaneously strengthening the chance of a United Russia win. But pulling the election date forward delivers a short term benefit at the expense of longer term risk.

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