Which di­rec­tion will Rus­sia-West ties take?

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

OnMon­day, a Turk­ish po­lice­man shot dead Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to Tur­key An­drei Karlov. BothMoscow and Ankara con­demned Karlov’s as­sas­si­na­tion, say­ing the act was an at­tempt to thwart ef­forts to re­pair bi­lat­eral ties, which had been strained be­cause of the two coun­tries’ sup­port for op­pos­ing sides in the Syr­ian civil war.

De­spite be­ing con­demned by theUnited States and the UnitedNations, the as­sas­si­na­tion partly re­flects the tense re­la­tions be­tween Rus­sia and theWest. That Tur­key be­ing aNATOmem­ber and part of theUnited States-led cam­paign against the Is­lamic State group have fur­ther com­pli­cated the Rus­sia-West ties.

This year has been bumpy for Rus­sia-West re­la­tions. In his tele­vised state-of-the-nation ad­dress ear­lier this month, Russian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin saidMoscow hopes to nor­mal­ize ties with Wash­ing­ton and is ready to jointly tackle global chal­lenges such as ter­ror­ism if its in­ter­ests are re­spected. But re­la­tions be­tween Rus­sia and theWest have re­mained tense since the Crimea cri­sis in 2014.

There is good news, though, asRus­sia-Ja­pan re­la­tions are be­gin­ning to thaw even though no ma­jor break­throughs have been achieved. Be­sides, some Euro­peanUnion mem­ber states have hinted at im­prov­ing re­la­tions with Rus­sia af­ter hav­ing fol­lowed theUS to im­pose harsh eco­nomic sanc­tions onMoscow. And with Don­ald Trump be­ing sworn in as theUS pres­i­dent next month, one can ex­pect US-Rus­sia re­la­tions, if not West-Rus­sia re­la­tions, to im­prove, even if partly, as Trump has said he wants bet­ter ties with­Moscow.

This is not the first time Putin has said he hopes to im­prove re­la­tions with the US, and by de­fault with the West. Putin’s diplo­matic ges­ture has a lot to do with the new­geopo­lit­i­cal land­scape fol­low­ing theUnited King­dom’s vote to break away from the EU, Trump’s vic­tory in theUS presidential elec­tion

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