As the new U.S. administration settles into the White House, many questions remain regarding its foreign policy stance toward Eastern and Central Europe, especially given President Trump’s ambiguous relationship with Putin. Amid these concerns, the European Studies Council and the Program in European Union Studies at the MacMillan Center hosted a panel on January 24 to discuss challenges in Central and Eastern Europe in the context of the new U.S. administration. The panelists included David Cameron, a Professor of Political Science; Thomas Graham, a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute specializing in Russia; and Yuriy Sergeyev, a Rice Faculty Fellow and former Ukrainian diplomat. (view video)
Mr. Graham began by noting the difficulty of speculating about the Trump administration’s foreign policy due to contradictions in Trump’s campaign rhetoric. On one hand, President Trump’s warm words about Putin and criticisms of NATO suggest the possibility of closer ties between the U.S. and Russia. On the other hand, the Kremlin may be antagonistic towards President Trump’s promise of U.S. military modernization and “nuclearization” as well as his denunciation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, to which Russia is committed.