They say a week is a long time in politics and the recent developments in the matter of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign won by Donald Trump are certainly proving the point. Even at their closest collaboration during the last World War the United States and Russia, as the then Soviet Union dominated by Stalin, there has never been a friendly rapport between the two superpowers. Now that fragile relationship stands at a crossroads that will also affect American internal politics.

Allegations or proven facts?

The decision by President Barak Obama to impose sanctions on Russia following allegations of interference in the presidential campaign, apparently backed by top secret reports by the CIA and the FBI has made the transition period even more delicate than usual.

The President elect has indicated that he will accept a briefing on this matter, while at the same time expressing doubt regarding the accuracy of the reports.

It would be banal to say that if the allegations are proved that correct that this will place the incoming president in an unusually difficult position, especially for someone with no diplomatic, or foreign service experience. His natural tendency to wave aside advisers may cause difficulties for the American secret services and also give major potential advantages for Vladimir Putin to exploit. This situation will have major consequences on both international politics and internal American politics.

On the world stage the allegations will affect America’s prestige with its allies, especially regarding any international collaboration due to the doubts about the cybernetic security of the U.S.

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and its ability to defend itself against any form of attack, cybernetic or otherwise. This may well be just what Vladimir Putin intends. This weakening of prestige will also affect its dealings with China which is not only undertaking a period of military expansion like Russia, but may also be its probable partner in resolving any issues caused by the unpredictable behaviour of Kim Jong-UN’s North Korea.

No doubt there have been a large number of high level secret conversations between America’s international allies in anticipation of developments on this matter.

Republicans vs Republicans

On the domestic level Donald Trump’s repeated references to Vladimir Putin even during the presidential campaign have already caused dismayed reaction from Republican’s such as Senator John McCain. This difference of attitude may well lead to a split between the incoming resident of the White House and his party which holds the majority in both Houses of the Legislative branch with possible affects on the nomination of key Secretaries, particularly those of State and Defense.

Furthermore, Donald Trump will need to play his cards very carefully because any automatic rejection of the reports proving the Russian interference may well lead to publicly discrediting the security and defense services that are so vital to the running of the country’s foreign relations and defense.

The first test

Transition periods are notoriously difficult for all, but the United States now finds itself in a particularly delicate situation and will require careful handling by its new Leader and his team. Inevitably there will be differences of perceptions and interpretations of the briefings provided which will lead to differences on what steps will need to be taken to resolve these issues.

There is only one thing which can presently be stated by anyone. The first test of President Trump will undoubtedly stamp the next four years for the United States and for international politics. If he fails this test it will be exceedingly difficult for him to play a dominant role in Cold War 2.