Amending Foreign Ties

A new dawn for U.S. – Russia relations

by Adam Helfer, correspondent

“New Cold War? Russia, U.S. Relations At Lowest Point Since 1970s,” reads a headline from a NBC News article on Oct. 5, 2016. The headline was inspired by the public statement of Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor, Brian Katulis, concerning the negative relations between the two countries peaking since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

While this ominous degree of poor relations between the United States and Russia is not unanimously understood, the decline of relations between these two countries is. This decline is due to recent accusations and disagreements between the nations. Prior to the United States’ 2016 presidential election, the U.S. made accusations that Russia was possibly hacking American systems in order to influence the election, according to CNN reporters Nicole Gaouette and Elise Labott.

In addition to this, there has been high tension between these two nations due to American opposition to overtly “brutal” Russian involvement within the conflict in Syria — more specifically, combined Russia-Syrian bombings on the city of Aleppo, where hundreds of civilians have been reported killed.

According to New York Times reporters Michael R. Gordon and Andrew E. Kramer, relations continued to decrease this past October when Russian President Vladimir Putin “responded to the American warnings by withdrawing from a landmark arms control agreement that calls for each side to dispose of 34 tons of plutonium, a material used in nuclear weapons.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States of America, and said he hopes to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia. President-elect Trump has already begun his presidential work in the realm of foreign affairs with Russia.

According to The Washington Post, on Monday, Nov. 15, Trump and Putin engaged in a phone conversation concerning Trump’s election, during which both leaders reportedly agreed that relations between the United States and Russia have been “unsatisfactory,” and vowed that both would work together in order to improve them. They addressed issues such as terrorism and the crisis in Syria, and made plans for a personal meeting to work on collaborative solutions.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the tone of the conversation was consistent with the tone of Trump’s campaign statements concerning the relationship between Russia and the United States. According to The Washington Post, “The president-elect spoke admiringly of Putin during the campaign, praising him as a stronger leader than President Obama and saying the two countries should join together to fight terrorists, particularly the Islamic State in Syria.”

While reconciliation between these two countries is in its early stages, both leaders say they are hopeful for a unified future.

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