Beliefs RNS Press Release Service

Advisor and scholar calls for better U.S. – Russian ties

MOSCOW — In two online joint speeches to those at Moscow State University, Russia’s leading university, William Jeynes, a U.S. and East Asian economic and political advisor called on President-elect Trump and President Putin to embrace an opportunity for better U.S. – Russian ties. Jeynes a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton and a Harvard graduate, who writes and teaches on history, asserted that the United States and Russia have previously missed on opportunities to move ahead with better relations following World War II and 9/11.

Jeynes declared that “Over the last 4-5 years the relationship between presidents Obama and Putin have deteriorated to such a level that many Russian leaders believe that we are now in Cold War II.” He continued, “After the sustained efforts of President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s and Richard Nixon before them in the 1970s to end the Cold War, which is one of the greatest political achievements of our lifetimes, it is tragic how quickly relations have deteriorated in the last few years. Obama and Putin obviously despise each other. Yet the election of a new U.S. president and the common threat of terror that both of nations face dictate that we should iron out our differences and work together.”

Dr. Jeynes stated that three developments give him some reason for optimism that if leaders from both nations put in the necessary effort, increased tensions can be replaced with steadily improved relations. Jeynes stated, “First, Russia is no longer an officially atheistic nation. In fact, much of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe is in the midst of Christian revival. Some of the largest churches in the world are in the Ukraine and Hungary and a large percentage of the Russian population professes Christ. President Putin has even rebuked President Obama and Western Europe for taking our nations away from our Christian roots. It is important for Russians to realize that Americans historically have not trusted atheistic leaders, because they view themselves as accountable to no one. Mussolini was an avid atheist, there is no record of Hitler ever attending church, and both Mao in China and Stalin were ruthless atheists. In the view of many Americans, it is no wonder why these individuals were responsible for the deaths of more people than anyone in the world. Second, Russia is no longer a Communist country.”

“Third,” Jeynes continued, “the fact that the United States now has a new president and that many Americans and Russians realize that our nations have a common interest in defeating terror raises some hope. However, we must not miss this opportunity.”