Although personalities do play a role in history, Ukraine shouldn't worry about them. Neither Trump nor Biden – whoever wins the U.S. presidential election – will be able to make a U-turn in relations with Ukraine. That's because the change of the country's course depends not only on the president (despite his special and important powers in the field of foreign policy), but also on other players who influence the development of American foreign policy: the Senate, Congress, parties, the State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, intelligence community, etc. That is, it's a consolidated position, and no president can react sharply to it.
Ukraine has one job – to not interfere in the U.S. elections and the American internal political life in general, while focusing on own reforms
Of course, American presidents could like some countries or not. For example, former U.S. Presidential Security Adviser John Bolton wrote in his book that Trump doesn't like Ukraine too much. Despite this, though, it was during Trump's presidency that Ukraine began to receive lethal aid…
So, these are too complex the matters to say unequivocally that Trump would be a bad U.S. president for Ukraine if reelected, or that Biden would be a good one, or vice versa.
Ukraine has one job – to not interfere in the U.S. elections and the American internal political life in general, while focusing on own reforms. And then there will be no fluctuations in American foreign policy as regards Ukraine.
Some say that whoever wins the U.S. election will try to stay away from Ukraine because both Trump and Biden have already had more than enough problems associated with our country. But, in my opinion, these are some grounded and mainly emotional assessments. The president's personal views and tastes are one thing, while the country's strategic interests are another. At the strategic level, such things of a private emotional nature will recede into the background. Therefore, the previous Ukraine experience of either Trump of Biden is unlikely to play a key role.
If we look at what measures the United States could take in the financial domain, Putin's entourage and Putin himself could find themselves in dire straits
If American policy is to follow the path that is now obvious – deterring Russia on all fronts – then Ukraine's role in this regard may be one of the most important ones. And, therefore, the US establishment will allow no president to put strategic issues below personal considerations.
If we talk about Washington's attitude to Moscow, the situation will be more or less stable if any of the two rivals wins. That's because what Moscow's been doing in the international arena has become a "red rag" for many patient Western leaders and politicians in general.
Now Trump has effectively frozen the Nord Stream 2 gas pipe, which was almost a sacred project to Putin. No one knows how his will end, but if such a line prevails, this means that in economic terms, it would be naïve for Russia to expect anything favorable.
There are currently no grounds for any drastic change in U.S. policy toward either Ukraine or Russia
If we look at what measures the United States could take in the financial domain, Putin's entourage and Putin himself could find themselves in dire straits. Several times the U.S. was going to announce tough sanctions against Russian politicians, but then everything was watered down. The only question is time - everything was torpedoed before, while yet another crazy step by the Kremlin could lead to these sanctions being revisited.
If we look at the military field, even on the example of the Black Sea region, it is clear that the Americans and NATO as a whole have understood that Russia needs to be deterred there because it poses a real threat to the Alliance's security. Not to mention more global things ... In particular, the disarmament crisis has become evident today, which means that Russia must be restrained both economically and militarily.
Thus, there are currently no grounds for any drastic change in U.S. policy toward either Ukraine or Russia. The Kremlin should do something that would give hope that Russia could rethink its policy and show a will to engage differently. But judging by what Putin said at the latest gathering of his minions (I mean the Valdai Forum), nothing of a kind can be expected yet. Therefore, we shouldn't expect serious changes in U.S. foreign policy whoever wins presidency this year.
Volodymyr Ohryzko is a Ukrainian diplomat, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, head of the Russia Studies Center