By Andrey Fedyashin | VOR
“We are ready to work with any US president”, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin stated answering a question whether Russia could work with Rep. Mitt Romney if he wins the November 6 elections. Sure thing, we will efficiently work with that candidate whom Americans elect.”
Putin gave an interview to the Russia Today TV Channel two months ahead of the US elections. His answer is a typical diplomatic statement in the run-up to any elections as the question implies: who will be a better president –Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
However, Putin’s answer has its hidden agenda. It means that Moscow doesn’t care that much about a new White House host but it cares about his political course. It’s not about working with “Dear George, Barack or Mitt” but with the US as a country. Personal relations between the heads of the two nuclear powers are certainly important but not decisive. It’s quite dangerous when global interests of the two parties depend on personalities.
Putin’s statement also implies that Moscow has no intentions to change its attitude to Washington. It interacted with the current Administration and can interact with another. The thing is whether the “altera pars” is ready to interact and revise some of its stances taking into account Russia’s interests or whether its pledges about “one step towards Russia” become real.
What we mean is the US anti-missile shield in Europe. Russia shouldn’t have any illusions that Mitt Romney would change the ABM plans as this was impossible already under Obama. During the nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital on March 26, 2012 Obama told Medvedev. “This is my last election … After my election I will have more flexibility.”
“I see. I will pass this information to Vladimir,” said Medvedev. Their words were being transmitted as someone forgot to switch microphones off. Then, the GOP was furious and Romney accused Obama of betraying US interests and playing dangerous games with its national security.
But Russia expects no drastic changes either from Obama or Romney. This June, Vladimir Putin met with Barack Obama in Mexico’s’ Los Cabos as part of the G20 summit.
Later, he told reporters that the issue of the US anti-missile system in Europe will be solved no matter who wins and it can be solved only bearing Russia’s interest in mind, which means collective ABMs featuring Russia, the EU and the US on the parity basis. Shortly, Putin will meet Obama at the Vladivostok APEC summit.