Jul 25, 2016 | https://www.wilsoncenter.org/
By E. Wayne Merry
As part of its “mainstreaming Russia expertise” project, the Kennan Institute is sending experts on Russia to the 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions to assess the potential new administrations’ vision for their relationship with Russia and Ukraine. E. Wayne Merry is a Senior Fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council and former Political Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
At the Republican Party national convention in Cleveland, serious differences were on display about US policy toward Russia and Ukraine.
To those of us in Cleveland, there were two party conventions to observe. The first was within the convention hall (called the “Q”) and clearly dominated by Donald Trump and his supporters. The second held forth outside the “Q” in a number of fora for more traditional Republican views. (Some of the most important Republicans did not come to Cleveland at all.)
For example, on Tuesday afternoon the International Republican Institute (IRI) sponsored a session for international observers with thirteen important Republican speakers. The first was Ohio Governor John Kasich, himself a presidential candidate this year, who chose not to attend his party’s national convention in his own state. The final remarks came from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the senior national-level Republican office holder who also chaired the convention. Not one of the thirteen even spoke the name “Trump” or referred directly to their party’s nominee for president. Kasich did so indirectly, in a litany of policy positions at odds with those of Donald Trump, and most forcefully against the change in the party platform on providing weapons to Ukraine (details below).