How could you characterize the current political standoff in the US? Is this a transitional period of the governmental change or a strategic split of elites, long-term trend?
I propose to avoid loud statements about the strategic split of elites. We must remember that governmental change never runs smoothly, but in democratic countries the process is more manageable and less dependent on the will of one person or a small group of people, and in authoritarian regimes it is almost always accompanied by certain shocks.
One of my methods of the analysis of any situation is a Lemma – everything in the world has its end. If so, any political process will finish sooner or later. Accordingly, it is necessary to understand what will be the end, then relate its perspective to the current situation, and it will become clear where we are. For example, if we follow this model, annexation of Crimea was just one of the ways to implement Russian global strategy – not an end per se, and until the United States and Europe do not understand that, building their strategies towards Russia, all the actions of the West are doomed to failure.
Returning to your question, I want to say that a few years ago I did an analysis of the contemporary American politics spiral. Then and now everyone talks about the fact that national debt of the United States will never be paid. If so, a radical restart of the entire financial and political system, both in America and the world, is necessary. But how does it happen, and most importantly – when? Also it would be nice to know, who is the person who will reset the system. To know this, we must understand how it works. It has no random people and nobody can change it.
My analysis showed that American elite began to "test" the candidates for the presidential role – to be more precise, to look for "suicide", who will be able to destroy the whole system and restart it – immediately after the 2008 economic crisis.
In 2012 they found Rick Santorum (Richard John Santorum), whose program was very similar to the current plans of Donald Trump (bring back jobs to the US, limit illegal immigration, strengthen military power of the United States, reform financial system of the country, disengage from the world politics, etc.). Therefore, I propose just to assume that the US elite without any division launched a project "Make America # 1", which may lead to the collapse of the global financial system and redraw the entire political landscape of the world. Who will implement it – Santorums or Trumps – does not matter.
How serious are disagreements between Donald Trump and US intelligence community, particularly the CIA? There is an impression that he relies on Army (including Army Intelligence), surrounding himself with authoritative generals.
From what I said before, there is no conflict between D. Trump and US intelligence community, and he cannot rely on Army simply because he does not have a team. All the people who surround him are representatives the Republican Party. D. Trump is a "stranger" for Republicans, and they treat him with great suspicion. Vice-president Mike Pence is "their man", and through him they try to control the head of state. The recent conflict between M. Pence and presidential adviser on national security Michael Flynn (Michael Thomas Flynn) ended not in favor of D. Trump – he had to give up his assistant. You can think that D. Trump will try to squeeze out something for himself from his presidency, but it is hardly possible. More likely, Ivanka Trump will become the next candidate for the president of the United States.
What are the prospects for American-Russian relations and what is behind anti-Russian hysteria in the United States? Is "Big Deal" real?
History shows that Russia commonly supports Republicans in the American presidential elections, but then relations with them do not develop well, and with Democrats they become the most constructive and even warm. Following the logic of this tradition, I do not think there is any prospect for better relations between Russia and the United States, especially when Republicans took control of all branches of power in the country. Also, do not expect any "Big Deal". What kind of "Big Deal" we can talk about, when the whole Russian GDP is only half GDP of New York City. We can only speak about some testing "Small Deal" for some period of time.
If our assumption is correct, and the program "Make America # 1" has been launched, America will withdraw from many parts of the world. Russia is interested in the post-Soviet area, and specifically in Ukraine. The latter can fall out of the list of American priorities, and its custody can be transferred to Europe, which will have to deal with Moscow. However, for now the destiny of Ukraine is unclear – it can be a confederation, Yugoslavia scenario, semi-hot long-term conflict, or something else.
What about US relations with China? Can we expect a war in the South China Sea?
At the initial stage of the presidency of D. Trump, America will not confront China directly, but may try to foment in the region a proxy conflict, highly unfavorable to Beijing.
In case of escalation between Russia friendly India and China's ally Pakistan the nuclear weapon can be used for the first time since World War II. Washington can also initiate a new war on the Korean peninsula. You cannot raise stakes all the time, and as soon as bombing of Pyongyang becomes less dangerous to the US than its nuclear threat, Kim's regime will come to an end. And this conflict will inevitably in one form or another will involve South Korea, Japan, Russia and of course China, which stands behind North Korea.
The ultimate goal of the United States may be destabilization and disintegration of Chinese state into several parts: Hong Kong, Tibet, Manchuria, economically developed and much needed by Western countries South-Eastern part, etc. (just have a look at ethnic map of China). Today this patchwork is saved from collapse only by a dictatorship of the rapidly aging Chinese Communist Party, which becomes less and less popular and is historically damned.
In the second part of our interview read about US future relations with Europe and Washington's policy in the Middle East. Also you will know if Donald Trump sees out the end of his presidential term.