The recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart President Donald J. Trump implicates the importance of complex interdependence in the 21st century. The place of the summit, ‘Helsinki’, is also significant historically due to the neutral position maintained by Finland during the Cold War era. At the time of the Cold War, many important meetings between Russian and US leaders took place there. In addition to this, the relevance of this summit after developments in different zones of the conflicts increased which includes the future of Syria, trade war between the US and China, the failure of G7 summit due to Trump’s confrontation with Prime Minister Trudeau, and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. All the aforementioned events have actually compounded into the amplification of this summit that brought two leaders to discuss the matters at hand. It is important to dissect this summit through the complex interdependence approach from the domain of international relations.
A realization has set in among the nation-states that in order to achieve the objectives and interests in the real world, one has to be skilfully efficient at the economic and technological fronts. This can be achieved by cooperating with other nation-states through engagement rather than in isolation.
The US and Russia, adversaries of the past, are seeking a way to work together in order to cope with common challenges such as terrorism, international crime, the economy and the environment. While counterterrorism and cyber security are areas in which cooperation already exists between the two, the responsibility to maintain international security also falls on both due to their major role as nuclear powers in a world. A conciliatory tone has been shown by both leaders in their comments; Putin said that the US and Russia could collaborate to ‘establish peace and reconciliation’ in Syria, while Trump added that by working together to end the conflict, the US and Russia could ‘save hundreds of thousands of lives’. The two leaders also expressed their commitment to secure Israel’s border with Syria in accordance with the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria.
A realization has set in among the nation-states that in order to achieve the objectives and interests in the real world, one has to be skilfully efficient at the economic and technological fronts.
Before the summit even began, the allegations of Russian meddling in 2016 US elections from US intelligence sparked an uproar among relevant authorities and it was expected that the meeting may be overshadowed but that was not the case. Conversely, this summit ended frosty relations between two countries. Putin reiterated his denial of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. ‘The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal US affairs,’ he said. He also added that Russia would be ready to analyse any findings together with the US as investigations over the whole saga.
Though there are challenges ahead in improving relations between the two countries, this meeting has been acknowledged by many area study experts and analysts as a step towards the right direction. Putin told Trump at the start of the summit on Monday that ‘the time has come to talk thoroughly about bilateral relations, as well as various hotspots in the world’. This approach by the Russian President signifies the complex web in which today’s nations are intertwined on multiple levels. Moreover, it also signals the Russian attitude towards its resurgence, particularly in Asia, and its foresightedness to counter the rising influence of Beijing by cooperating with China. The recent actions of Trump in the wake of his protectionist stance on tariffs with China and Canada, meeting with Kim in Singapore and now one-to-one meeting with Putin all supports the notion that his ideological foundation rests on bilateralism.
On the other hand, Kremlin’s interaction with the global powers has prompted a swing in the nature of contemporary world order between bilateralism and multilateralism. However, this pendulum swing points out a key finding that complex interdependence is the key that unveils the moves of nation states in their diplomatic actions. The states try to adjust between bilateralism and multilateralism accordingly in response to their aim to achieve and safeguard their respective interests.
Though there are challenges ahead in improving relations between the two countries, this meeting has been acknowledged by many area study experts and analysts as a step towards the right direction.
In the wake of this summit, Presidents Trump and Putin sat down in front of the media for brief comments and a handshake before they met alone and joined top aides for a working lunch. Both leaders have acknowledged that it was time to address relations between their countries which would include some contentious, multi-national issues. For President Trump, this was also a great opportunity for both countries to work for better future relations. In concomitance, this meeting between Russian and US counterparts in Helsinki from the lens of complex interdependence suggests that both powers will continue to cooperate in the near future as well because they both can accommodate themselves in any role owing to a shared history of Cold War.
has completed his MPhil in American Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. In addition to this, he has completed his research work from Ball State University, Municie USA. He
is an active member of International Exchange Alumni sponsored by Department of State, USA. Currently, he is working as a Research Associate at the CSCR.