There are a lot of issues to talk about that have accumulated

  1. Lifting of sanctions: This will be difficult since Congress, in a case of rare bipartisanship, would block it. Perhaps not penalize European companies doing business with Russia, notably on Nord Stream and restoring diplomatic staffing to normal levels is more doable.
  2. Situation in Syria:  The U.S. must accept the fact that Bashar al-Assad will stay in power. The notion of partitioning Syria and creating an eastern “Sunnistan” to bar Iranian influence isn’t viable. Agreement to keep the Iranians and Hezbollah out of areas vital to Israel is more doable. It’s time to move forward on what Mr. Trump has always said was his preference  and get the U.S. out of Syria.
  3. Ukrainian crisis: The thorniest problem will be Ukraine. The seeds of Ukraine’s instability were planted long before Mr. Putin’s rise to power, arising from a combination of factors. First, Ukraine’s inherent fault lines are those of a weak, oligarch-corrupted, regionally dissimilar entity cobbled together. Second, Moscow’s suspicion that the 2014 Western- supported unconstitutional regime change had very little to do with bringing freedom, democracy and prosperity to the Ukrainian people is well-founded. At stake were further NATO expansion in the post-Soviet space and a dramatic geopolitical weakening of the Russian Federation. Faced with a vital security challenge on Russia’s doorstep, Mr. Putin was forced to react. Whether his reaction was the right one is debatable, but so are U.S. actions in places not essential to American security, like Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria – and Ukraine.
  4. Crimea: One thing should be clear: Crimea will not “return” to Ukraine. A judicious move by Mr. Trump would be to formalize the position that the U.S. does not recognize Crimea’s reincorporation but that such non-recognition will not impede ties with Moscow.
  5. Eastern Ukraine: With regard to the Donbass, Mr. Putin pointedly has not accepted the declared independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. That said, continued bashing of Moscow for not “implementing the Minsk 2 agreement” just lets Kiev off the hook for its failure to offer viable self-governance to the Donbass, perhaps under a federal scheme like the U.S.,Russia and many other countries have.
  6. Alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election:The Russian side has clearly stated that the Russian state hasn't interfered with the U.S. domestic politics, moreover hasn't interfered in the 2016 election.
  7. Nuclear arms control: Ensuring strategic stability, a situation in which neither side has a strong incentive to strike first, even in severe crisis faces numerous challenges. These challenges include nuclear force modernization efforts by both countries, related questions such as missile defense and prompt conventional strike, possible doctrinal changes, developments in the cyber and space domains, the effect of third-country nuclear forces and the increased possibility of accidents or miscalculations stemming from more frequent encounters between U.S. and Russian military forces. Existing negotiated arms control and military transparency regimes are fraying in the face of these challenges. Progress on nuclear arms control could contribute to an improvement in the broader bilateral relationship. Preserving existing agreements should be a priority.
  8. Developments around North Korea: Any long term deal with North Korea will likely need Russian support. There is an agreement between Russia, China and North Korea that in case accords are reached with the U.S. , Russia and China will serve as guarantors of these accords.
  9. U.S. exit from the Iranian nuclear deal: President Putin was deeply disappointed by President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions. Russia has said it would back further cooperation within the parties that brokered the Iran deal and has reiterated it’s support for dialogue and cooperation with Tehran.




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