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Russian Commentary on Bolton Firing Evinces Cautious Optimism

Sept. 13, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Russians are taking a wait-and-see approach to the firing of John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, although there is reason for cautious optimism. When asked at the TASS Press Center whether Bolton’s departure from the White House might have influence on stronger security in the world, Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky replied, “There will be less Bolton-like rhetoric, particularly in both the Congress chambers, but generally speaking it will not influence the situation,” reports TASS. “At the micro level, an individual’s role is important. Speaking about the processes at a more serious level, there are more objective tendencies here that take root in the situations of the past few years.”

Dmitry Suslov, Director at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, in an Sept. 12 analysis posted on the Valdai Discussion Club website, is cautiously optimistic.

“What happens next? Naturally, one cannot expect a decisive and radical re-adjustment in U.S. foreign policy. Washington will continue to perceive China, Russia and Iran as opponents, pursue a utilitarian and mercantilist approach to its allies, and remain skeptical regarding international organizations and international law. It’s most likely that the United States will not return to the recently-jettisoned arms control system, of which John Bolton was a fierce opponent.”

Suslov argues that the personal factor should not be exaggerated, but “At the same time, Bolton’s departure creates a kind of ‘window of opportunity’ and inspires cautious optimism.” Suslovexpects that the U.S. will still seek to include Russia’s new generation nuclear delivery systems along with Russia’s arsenal of non-strategic nuclear warheads in New START negotiations, but these conditions, he claims, should be see “in many respects as a bid for a new negotiating position.” The Pentagon, he argues, still prefers a predictable arms control regime. “Therefore, without John Bolton, it may prove to be much easier to extend New START for a new term, until 2026.” It may also be easier for the U.S. and Russia to negotiate a new system of strategic stability, Suslov writes.

In the end Suslov concludes: “No radical change is foreseen, but new positive opportunities arise to reduce risks associated with American foreign policy.”

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