Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have held a telephone conversation in which the leaders of two of the three world super-powers discussed pressing matters of war and peace.
The conversations were serious in tone with both leaders pledging to maintain close contact with the other. Putin and Trump also said that the respective foreign ministers of each country, Sergey Lavrov and Rex Tillson will be in close contact with each other in order to bolster the fragile Syrian ceasefire.
Among the most important things discussed was possible coordination between Russia and the United States in the fight against Wahhabist terrorism in Syria. Cooperation between Washington and Moscow in the war against groups like ISIS was a central pillar of Trump’s campaign, but one apparently abandoned when Trump attacked Syria on the 6th of April, something which led to Vladimir Putin saying that US-Russian relations had eroded under Donald Trump
However, there have been recent signs that Donald Trump is turning away from militarism and back towards cooperation. The fact that US troops are now acting as a buffer to prevent Turkish forces from firing on Kurdish SDF fighters in Syria is a sign that America has backed away from cooperation with Turkey in a would be war for regime change in Damascus.
According to a statement from the Kremlin Press Office,
“On May 2, Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump. They discussed a number of important issues of cooperation between the two countries in the international arena. They concentrated on the prospect of coordinating the actions of Russia and the United States in the fight against international terrorism in the context of the Syrian crisis…
The goal is to create conditions to launch a real settlement process in Syria. It means that the Russian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State will promptly inform the leaders about the progress achieved in this direction”.
The statement also confirmed that the US and Russian Presidents will hold private meetings during the G20 Summit in Germany this July.
Vladimir Putin also urged restraint on the North Korean issue.
The statement continued,
“The situation on the Korean peninsula was discussed in detail. Vladimir Putin called for restraint and to defuse tensions”.
In an ideal world, the US and Russia would cooperate militarily against terrorism in Syria and also cooperate diplomatically over North Korea. China and Russia have both been trying to push the US in this direction.
Trump’s first 100 days in office have been filled with contradictions and inconsistency. However, there are some signs that Donald Trump may be doing a second U-turn away from his initial hawkish U-turn.
If this turns out to be the case, it could indeed be a positive development in the US turning away from a unilateral position in foreign affairs.