So, how did it go? I shouldn’t need to explain what ‘it‘ is, but I mean the important Geneva meeting yesterday (Jan 10) between Russia and the US. This was supposedly centred around Russia’s demands for a legally binding agreement to secure Russian security in the face of NATO expansionary zeal on its western borders.
So, how did it go? Well, I’m sure you will read all sorts of waffle from other sources, but this brief post-meeting video summary for the press, by Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov, contains all the answers you need. His summation is brief, lasting only some 8 minutes (begin at the 15 minute mark) and followed by questions from the gathered journalists.
The chief point he made was (in the as-it-happened translation from Russian to English at roughly the 22:30 minute mark) exactly as in the title to this post. I will repeat it here:
“We do not see that there is understanding from the American side of how imperative these matters need to be resolved in the key that will make us happy”
He went on to say that it is necessary and perhaps more hopeful that at the follow-up meetings with NATO (Jan 12) and the OSCE (Jan 13) a better understanding of the issues will be found. Whatever the outcome from those meetings, Russia will consider all angles afterwards and decide what its next steps may be (roughly paraphrasing what was said in the press briefing – which you can watch below). I have to say, as I write this, I haven’t yet finished listening to all the press questions and their responses, but I doubt there is anything more solidly constructive which can be said at this point.
So, a question has been answered and an expectation met. The US is simply not on the same page as Russia – which I think is commonly understood, and no more accurately recognised than by the Russians.
More waiting ensues. But only for a few days. I’m sure we can manage the tension for a while longer. Who knows, there may be more intervening lame party tricks pulled by the nervously twitching cross-Atlantic allies a la recent Kazakhstan adventure? There are also many other things we can occupy ourselves with while we wait out these long, dreary, moments. We do after all live in one of the most eventful periods of human history. Best not to focus too much on one thing, at the risk of missing something else of equally or higher global importance.