High Stakes Talks Between Russia and the U.S.


Jay Sekulow


January 10

Tensions between Russia and the United States are rising. On Ukraine’s border, there are more than 100,000 Russian troops prepared to invade at any given time. President Biden had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week that did not go well. The United States is proposing to add significant sanctions on Russia, and President Putin has threatened a breach in the relationship in the event of new sanctions. There are bilateral talks happening today dealing with these issues.

ACLJ Senior Military Analyst Wes Smith laid out Putin’s goal:

Putin made the statement recently repeated from a previous year, “The greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century was the fall of the Soviet Union.” His goal is to try to restore some of the greatness that he perceived back then so his motive is, I can go back and be the strong man and restore the old Soviet-era kind of empire for Russia. I think that is part of his goal.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who was a principal negotiator for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal, is leading the United States in negotiations with Russia today. Referring to this conversation, Sec. Sherman said:

Today was discussion, a better understanding of each other and each other’s priorities. It was not what we would call a negotiation.

ACLJ Director of Government Affairs Thann Bennett pointed out how it’s the same people with the same failed strategy going into these negotiations:

I actually think this is where the conversation needs to start when you are talking about diplomacy from the United States. Wendy Sherman is not a stranger to any of us. . . . So, we know what we are going to get from her. She’s been involved in these high-stakes negotiations before. My concern and the concerns I’m hearing from many on Capitol Hill is when you send the same people, with the same strategy, you’re going to get the same result. . . . This is someone who is a hard-Left activist. . . . So, I think the concern is even if you have maybe room for differences of opinion in how these negotiations should look, I think leading with Wendy Sherman is a cause for concern. Those meetings started last night; they are continuing today. But I think it’s probably the worst way to put a strong foot forward.

When Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked what sanctions the U.S. is willing to impose, he responded:

Well, first, when it comes to consequences, it’s not just us who has been saying this. The G7, the leading democratic economies in the world, made clear there would be massive consequences for renewed Russian aggression.

Renewed Russian aggression is happening right now. ACLJ Senior Advisor for National Security and former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell explained why Americans should care about this:

We certainly don’t want to be dragged into wars. The “America First” idea is to say, what is our interest? How are Americans impacted by these decisions? And I think that the reality is that this is in Europe’s neighborhood. But unfortunately, we have been pushed into a corner where we have really bad choices. That’s one of the things I think Donald Trump gave us with the America First agenda. . . .  This goes back to the fact that there wasn’t a credible threat of military action from the Biden team. There was a credible threat from Trump. So, you have to ask yourself why is it that North Korea, China, and Russia began to test the Biden Administration in ways they never tested Trump. The answer goes back to what world leaders have said to me personally, which was, “We just always didn’t know what Donald Trump was going to do, so we had to wait.” And therein lies a credible threat of military action.

ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo has negotiated with the Russians. He gave his take on the negotiations today:

It’s hard to know, I assure you that if Vladimir Putin is there, he will try to exercise coercive diplomacy. His team has gone with a very clear mission and objective. They know exactly the things they are prepared to give up in exchange for things that Putin wants. I hope our team is armed with the same level of specificity. But the discussion that just wanders around the room talking about history or what they anticipate, that has already taken place. The leaders have done that. They should have come with a set of clear outlines of what each side was prepared to do in order to achieve an outcome that makes sense for their own people. . . . I saw Sherman talk about de-escalation; it is almost always the side publicly calling for de-escalation that is losing. Because it is prepared to cave, because they are asking for something that they are almost certainly not going to achieve with Vladimir Putin.

Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more analysis of negotiations between Russia and the United States.

Watch the full broadcast below.

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