The Evolving Stalemate Between Russia and the West

Dec 8, 2017 | 08:00 GMT

Although the details have changed, the issues that divide Moscow on one side and Washington and Europe on the other remain essentially the same as they were a year ago.

Although progress on some issues remains possible, the standoff between Russia and the West shows no sign of abating in 2018.

(graphixel/iStock; ilbusca/iStock; johnkellerman/iStock)


  • Tensions between Russia and the West will remain high in 2018, with the United States and European Union likely to maintain — if not expand — their economic sanctions.
  • Negotiations between Moscow and the West over contested hot spots like Ukraine and Syria will take place throughout the year, though talks ultimately will not lead to any breakthrough agreements.
  • The importance of Russia's relationship with the West to Moscow will gradually ebb as the Kremlin increasingly turns its foreign policy focus to other regions of the world.

At the beginning of 2017, it appeared as if the strained relationship between Russia and the West was about to undergo a substantial shift. U.S. President Donald Trump, who had campaigned on a platform of improving relations with Russia, was about to be inaugurated. Upcoming elections in the core European Union states of France and Germany offered the possibility that Euroskeptic parties would rise to power, leading to a major change in those countries' positions, including on maintaining sanctions against Russia. Furthermore, it appeared as if solidarity within NATO, as well as support for Western-leaning states like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, was in danger of weakening substantially. But as 2018 approaches, it's clear that instead of waning, Western pressure against Russia has intensified....

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