Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market House Prices Bull Market Trend Current State - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver End of Week Technical, CoT and Fundamental Status - Gary_Tanashian
3.Stock Market Dow Trend Forecast - April Update - Nadeem_Walayat
4.When Will the Stock Market’s Rally Stop? - Troy_Bombardia
5.Russia and China Intend to Drain the West of Its Gold - MoneyMetals
6.BAIDU (BIDU) - Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Stocks Investing To Profit from AI Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Stop Feeding the Chinese Empire - ‘Belt and Road’ Trojan Horse - Richard_Mills
8.Stock Market US China Trade War Panic! Trend Forecast May 2019 Update - Nadeem_Walayat
9.US China Trade Impasse Threatens US Lithium, Rare Earth Imports - Richard_Mills
10.How to Invest in AI Stocks to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Video - 25th June 19
Today’s Pets.com and NINJA Loan Economy - 25th June 19
Testing the Fed’s Narrative with the Fed’s Data: QT Edition - 25th June 19
What "Pro Traders" use to Find Profitable Trades - eBook - 25th June 19
GDX Gold Stocks ETF - 25th June 19
What Does Facebook’s LIBRA New Crytocurrency Really Offer? - 25th June 19
Why Bond Investors MUST Be Paying Attention to Puerto Rico - 25th June 19
The Next Great Depression in the Making - 25th June 19
The Bad News About Record-Low Unemployment - 24th June 19
Stock Market New High, but…! - 24th June 19
Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally Ends - 24th June 19
How To Time Market Tops and Bottoms - 24th June 19
5 basic tips to help mitigate the vulnerability inherent in email communications - 24th June 19
Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - 24th June 19
Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - 23rd June 19
Financial Sector Paints A Clear Picture For Stock Market Trading Profits - 23rd June 19
What You Should Look While Choosing Online Casino - 23rd June 19
INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - 22nd June 19
Here’s Why You Should Drive a Piece of Crap Car - 22nd June 19
How Do Stock Prices React to Fed Interest Rate Cuts? - 22nd June 19
Gold Bull Market Breaking Out! - 21st June 19
Post-FOMC Commentary: Delusions of Grandeur - 21st June 19
Gold Scores Gains as Draghi and Powel Grow Concerned - 21st June 19
Potential Upside Targets for Gold Stocks - 21st June 19
Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - 21st June 19
The Gold (and Silver) Volcano Is Ready to Erupt - 21st June 19
Fed Leaves Rates Unchanged – Gold & Stocks Rally/Dollar Falls - 21st June 19
Silver Medium-Term Trend Analysis - 20th June 19
Gold Mining Stocks Waiting on This Chart - 20th June 19
A Key Gold Bull Market Signal - 20th June 19
Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - 20th June 19
Investing in APPLE (AAPL) to Profit From AI Machine Learning Stocks - 20th June 19
Small Cap Stocks May Lead A Market Rally - 20th June 19 -
Interest Rates Square Minus Zero - 20th June 19
Advice for Financing a Luxury Vehicle - 20th June 19
Stock Market Final Blow Off Top Just Hit… Next Week Comes the FIREWORKS - 20th June 19
US Dollar Rallies Off Support But Is This A Top Or Bottom? - 19th June 19
Most Income Investors Are Picking Up Nickels in Front of a Steamroller - 19th June 19
Is the Stock Market’s Volatility About to Spike? - 19th June 19
Facebook's Libra Crypto currency vs Bitcoin: Five Key Differences - 19th June 19
Fed May Trigger Wild Swing In Stock Index and Precious Metals - 19th June 19
How Long Do Land Rover Discovery Sport Brake Pads Last? - 19th June 19
Gold Golden 'Moment of Truth' Is Upon Us: $1,400-Plus or Not? - 18th June 19
Exceptional Times for Gold Warrant Special Attention - 18th June 19
The Stock Market Has Gone Nowhere and Volume is Low. What’s Next - 18th June 19
Silver Long-Term Trend Analysis - 18th June 19
IBM - Watson Deep Learning - AI Stocks Investing - Video - 18th June 19
Investors are Confident, Bullish and Buying Stocks, but… - 18th June 19
Gold and Silver Reversals – Impossible Not to Notice - 18th June 19
S&P 500 Stuck at 2,900, Still No Clear Direction - 17th June 19
Is Boris set to be the next Conservation leader? - 17th June 19
Clock’s Ticking on Your Chance to Profit from the Yield Curve Inversion - 17th June 19
Stock Market Rally Faltering? - 17th June 19
Johnson Vs Gove Tory Leadership Contest Grudge Match Betfair Betting - 17th June 19
Nasdaq Stock Index Prediction System Is Telling Us A Very Different Story - 17th June 19
King Dollar Rides Higher Creating Pressures On Foreign Economies - 17th June 19
Land Rover Discovery Sport Tailgate Not Working Problems Fix (70) - 17th June 19
Stock Market Outlook: is the S&P today just like 2007 or 2016? - 17th June 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Gold Price Trend Forecast Summer 2019

U.S., Russia: The Case for Bilateral Talks

Politics / GeoPolitics Jul 23, 2015 - 12:53 PM GMT

By: STRATFOR

Politics

Phone calls between relatively low-level diplomats are normally not newsworthy. But Monday's conversation between U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on the simmering conflict in Ukraine is an exception. The bilateral nature of the conversation and its timing amid mounting claims of cease-fire violations from the Ukrainian government and separatist forces makes it uniquely significant. Moreover, it reaffirms that the evolution of the Ukrainian conflict — whether toward a settlement or toward escalation — will be most strongly shaped not by Kiev but by the actions of and relationship between Moscow and Washington.


Since the Ukrainian crisis started nearly 18 months ago, two negotiation formats in particular stand out among numerous talks and meetings. The first is the Minsk talks between representatives from the Ukrainian government, the pro-Russia separatists and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which address the conflict on a tactical level. The other is the Normandy talks between representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, which consider the conflict on a broader, political level. Notably absent from both talks, despite being a major political, economic and security player in Ukraine and the broader standoff between Russia and the West, is the United States. Washington has been diplomatically active in the conflict, but U.S. and Russian officials have met at various times only on an ad hoc basis.

However, this practice may have changed over the weekend, when Russian Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said in an interview that Russia and the United States had come to an agreement to set up a "special bilateral format" of talks between the two countries — talks that would involve Nuland and Karasin. In explaining the formal announcement, Ivanov said that expanding the Normandy format to include the United States would simply be too "risky," adding that the two countries would coordinate talks on Ukraine bilaterally "for the time being." Thus the phone call between Nuland and Karasin took place to discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreement and the constitutional reform process in Ukraine, with further discussions likely to follow.

The Ukraine conflict is at its core a conflict between two geopolitical imperatives. Russia wants to protect its interior by using its surrounding territories to establish a buffer. The United States wants to prevent the rise of regional powers that could potentially challenge U.S. hegemony. These imperatives collided in Ukraine, which of all the countries in the former Soviet periphery has the most strategic importance for modern Russia. If Ukraine supports Moscow, Russia becomes a regional power on the rise. If Ukraine supports the West, Russia becomes vulnerable from without and within. The Euromaidan movement of February 2014 reversed Russia's position from the former to the latter. Moscow responded by annexing Crimea and supporting the separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine in a bid to undermine or neutralize Kiev's pro-Western government.

So far Russia's plan has been unsuccessful. Ukraine aligned itself even more closely with the West by pursuing greater economic and political integration with the European Union and greater security and military cooperation with NATO. Ukraine's close relationship with NATO is particularly worrisome for Russia, which has long feared the military alliance pushing up against its borders. Moscow has made multiple efforts to keep NATO's influence at bay, putting diplomatic pressure on Georgia in 2008 when Georgia declared its alliance with NATO, for example. It showed its concern about NATO even more dramatically in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. And of all the NATO countries, the United States has the strongest military and the most assertive policies challenging Russia throughout the former Soviet periphery.

Russia's long-held suspicion of U.S. influence in its periphery makes the decision to start regular bilateral talks a significant step. In some ways, these two countries wield more power to shape the political and military outcome in Ukraine than the Ukrainians and separatists themselves. But holding such talks does not necessarily indicate that a resolution or even a de-escalation of the conflict is imminent. Issues still divide the two sides, particularly what kind of autonomy Ukraine's central government should give the rebel regions.

All the major parties in the Ukrainian conflict support some level of decentralization, or the granting of greater powers to regional governments. The disagreement is over the timing and extent of the process. Russia sees decentralization as a way to maintain a buffer zone in the east outside of Ukraine's direct control, while Ukraine sees it as a way to compromise but still effectively retain control over the entire country. Ukraine wants to see separatists implement the Minsk agreement and lay down their arms before officials amend the national constitution to grant the eastern territories more regional autonomy. But separatists want the constitutional changes first, and they want a role in determining those changes. Only then, they say, can they fully implement the cease-fire.

Broadly speaking, the United States supports the Ukrainian position; Russia supports the separatists. However, during a recent visit to Ukraine and preceding her phone conversation with Karasin, Nuland weighed in on the Ukrainian legislature's debate over the constitutional amendment. Nuland urged Ukraine to give the country's eastern regions a controversial and highly debated "special status" under the law. Officials had not included the term in the constitutional amendment draft, but U.S. pressure to deliver more on the sensitive issue could be seen as a nod to Russia.

But Nuland's actions could also be a more nuanced effort to help Ukraine: The more substantial and unimpeachable Ukraine's constitutional reforms, the less room Moscow and the separatists have to criticize the changes and justify their own cease-fire violations. Washington has echoed Kiev in demanding that the separatists abide by the cease-fire, threatening Russia with more sanctions and — according to some leaked reports — restrictions on Moscow's access to credit, if separatists continue to violate the Minsk agreement.

Russia's reactions have also been mixed. The Kremlin has spoken somewhat positively of the reform process, but Russia is still influencing the Ukrainian battlefield while demanding more political concessions for the separatist territories. Russia is also seeking U.S. concessions on Ukraine for its help in facilitating the Iran nuclear agreement. Moscow and Washington are trying to reach an accommodation while keeping their threat options open as well. With more talks between Nuland and Karasin set to take place, the evolution of Ukraine's conflict and the political reform process will be the true test of the effectiveness of this new bilateral dialogue between the United States and Russia.

"U.S., Russia: The Case for Bilateral Talks is republished with permission of Stratfor."

This analysis was just a fraction of what our Members enjoy, Click Here to start your Free Membership Trial Today! "This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR"

© Copyright 2015 Stratfor. All rights reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis.

STRATFOR Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules