Kurilla: The Russian president's comments reveal his growing confidence about the wedge he is driving between Washington and its Western allies

PONARS Eurasia
10 Jun 2018

(U.S. News & World ReportIf one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's goals is to undermine American leadership in the world by driving a wedge between the U.S. and its Western partners, he likely is smiling today.

During his marathon annual call-in show on Thursday, Putin joked about a recent article in Germany's popular Die Welt that claimed President Donald Trump is pushing Europe into Russia's hands. The column came out before a string of leaders in Europe and Canada began openly criticizing the brash American leader ahead of his scheduled visit to Quebec for the annual summit of leading industrial nations, also known as the Group of Seven, or G-7. [...]

The Russian president's comments reveal his growing confidence about the wedge he is driving between Washington and its Western allies, says Ivan Kurilla, a history professor at the European University at St. Petersburg and an expert on Russian-American relations.

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A Tale of Two Summits

It was a calmer summit, but drew far less Western media attention than the fractious G7 gathering in Canada, which ended in disarray in an escalating dispute over trade and tariffs.

Half a world away at a carefully choreographed annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Qingdao, China, there were no death-grip handshakes, personal jibes or Twitter skirmishes between the leaders of Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. [...]

And Putin didn’t hesitate to note growing friction between the U.S. and Europe. It is a theme he has pressed repeatedly in recent weeks, notably during a recent trip to Austria, revealing a growing confidence in trying to drive a wedge between Washington and its Western allies, according to Ivan Kurilla, a history professor at the European University at St. Petersburg. 

Read More © VOA