As the US Presidential polls approach closer, the Democrats seem to have been hit by a bombshell with their primary poll issue- Russian interference, getting snatched away from them. Amidst allegations of interference by Russia in American Presidential polls, Vladimir Putin is now warming up to the United States. He has called on Washington to agree to a non-interference pact ahead of the upcoming Presidential polls in the US.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov read out a statement on behalf of Putin, wherein the Russian President called upon the US and Russia to engage in a “professional expert dialogue” guarantying “non-interference into internal affairs of each other,” with special focus on tackling the use of “information and communication technologies.”
This is Putin’s single largest attempt to seek rapprochement with the United States and bust rumours of meddling in the US political system by Russia. In fact, both Washington and Moscow accuse each other of “disinformation” and social media meddling. But Putin wants to create a new system whereby the US doesn’t interfere in Russia and Russia doesn’t interfere in the US.
Lavrov said, “One of today’s major strategic challenges is the risk of a large-scale confrontation in the digital field.” He added, “A special responsibility for its prevention lies on the key players in the field of ensuring international information security.”
Russia has been constantly denying allegations of trying to meddle in the upcoming 2020 Presidential polls. Most of such allegations come from the Democrat Presidential nominee, Joe Biden who has gone on to say, “We know from before, and I guarantee you I know now because now I get briefings again. The Russians are still engaged, trying to de-legitimize our electoral process. Fact.”
In fact, Biden claims that Russia, not China is the biggest threat to the upcoming American Presidential polls. He has also tried to make Russia the biggest poll issue by insinuating that Donald Trump is playing a “subservient role” to Vladimir Putin. But Putin is directly addressing such rumours now. The President of Russia is willing to walk the talk by going as far as signing a non-interference pact with the United States.
In fact, there have been reports that the US President has told his aides that he would like to hold an in-person meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin before the US Presidential polls in November. If and when such a meeting takes place, Trump and Putin could actually sign a non-interference pact of the kind that the Russian President is proposing. Any such US-Russia agreement would virtually make Russian meddling in US polls a non-issue, effectively taking away the juiciest poll issue from the Democrats.
On the other hand, China in which Democrats do not see a very big threat has altogether refused to engage the United States. It is clear that Beijing will continue meddling in the upcoming US Presidential polls, and Chinese meddling is invariably going to be aimed against Donald Trump. Now, Trump gets to tell the American voters, ‘I told you so’.
Trump also gets to claim that he is the one being targeted by a foreign power- the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). And that he is the one facing a cyberwar backed by an overseas Communist power, whereas Russia doesn’t really want to carry out a covert campaign Trump’s opponent- Joe Biden.
At a geopolitical level also, a non-interference pact between Russia and the United States can change things upside down. A Russian initiative to resolve one of the biggest bilateral issues between Washington and Moscow dismantles the perception of a Russia-China axis taking on the US. Russia is making it clear that neither it is a Chinese ally, nor has it taken China’s side in the ongoing US-China rivalry.
Putin is also making it clear that he is easier and more convenient to engage with than the hawkish Chinese President, Xi Jinping. As such it is now for the Trump administration to gauge the signals and mend US ties with Russia.
Putin knows that a non-interference pact is easier to finalise with Trump in the White House, because if the Democrats come to power, they will not kill the biggest political issue that they have in Russia by making truce with Moscow. Nevertheless, Putin has virtually snatched the biggest poll agenda of the Democrats and has also embarked Russia on the path of warming up to the United States.