It was the first visit of the Russian Minister of International Affairs Sergey Lavrov to the US since 2013. Many had expected this trip for many years. It had been long awaited in the atmosphere of a standstill and mutual misunderstanding between the two great powers.
One, however, it should be naive to expect any serious shifts in our relations right after the trip. To be honest, no one believes these shifts will happen soon – too many issues are there between us. Russia and the US have different views on today's world order. Russia sees it as a space for dialogue between independent and equal countries, as a "multi polar world" with complex relations based on compromise and balance. The United States see their leadership slipping away, the leadership that President Obama worked so hard to keep at any cost, even ignoring the reality. Even after he left his place in the White House in 2016, he like a phantom in an old castle still frightens those living in there with his own morbid phantoms and nightmares. It was an uneasy task to change the stereotype behaviour of the US political elites that used to speak to the world from a position of strength. It seems like only the presidency of George W. Bush finally appeared to be a "moment of truth". It was the "city on the hill" itself that unwillingly and painfully had to acknowledge that it no longer had enough powers to rule the world alone, defining its own way based on its domestic values.
When the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson first came to Moscow in April this year, many believed his meeting with the Russian leader was to be unreal and doomed. Now we may see the process continuing. Mr Lavrov had a meeting with Mr Tillerson at first hand and then the President Trump himself accepted him. They do have a lot to discuss!
The issues that the world is facing are too deep, too multisided and hard-to-resolve just to let them go referring to your partner not sharing your views. Obama's personal animus towards Russian leaders in the nuclear world may have a horrendous price. For sure, that encouragement the US leaders gave to the Ukrainian authorities, and imitation of fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria had its bloody cost. The US external policy based on antagonism to their partner's position could not have resulted in anything but the crisis. It seems as if Washington starts getting into this truth.
The American administration appears to be ready to speak the language of realism. "Our dialogue is free from any ideology that Obama's administration brought in it. President Trump and his administration, including the Secretary of State, had once again proved to me today that they are the people of action; they are willing to negotiate not just to show someone what they have achieved in the field of ideological leanings, but to negotiate to find a solution to certain issues," said Sergey Lavrov during the press-conference after the meeting with Trump.
He highlighted key issues as well: Ukraine and Syria. Each such issue has a global dimension. A flourishing Ukraine being a good neighbour is the earnest of prosperity both in Europe and in Russia; it is a drive link in integration processes in Eurasia. A stable and strong Syria is an indispensable condition for stability in the Middle East, continuity of the world energy flows and Russian national security. Finding a solution to such issues, indeed, requires coordination of efforts of many geopolitical actors, but it is only the US and Russia that may have a direct influence on the very possibility of such coordination to happen. "Despite the travails in their relations, Russia and the United States should combine their forces to resolve international issues," Mr Lavrov said after his meetings with Tillerson and Trump. Lavrov also mentioned other issues he discussed with President Trump apart from the Syrian issue, that including Palestine-Israel settlement, the situation in Afghanistan and the Ukrainian conflict. He also emphasised that "We have agreed to continue working on resolution of these issues; we will proceed to look for ways to bring all the stakeholders together."
It is no doubt that the main result of Mr Lavrov's visit to the US is the start of a dialogue between our countries on all complex of issues. We would like to believe that despite all conceptual disagreements this dialogue will be continued.