William of Ockham, if he were here, would probably tell us that the next four years in the USA will resemble the last four. Sluggish economy, growing deficit, high unemployment, drone strikes offstage, the occasional attack on a US facility, armed interventions (is Mali next?). Maybe he would be wrong. But he has been a reliable guide for seven centuries.
As for Russian-US relations, at least the US President doesn’t say that Russia is the “number one geopolitical foe” but he still says “America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America”.
What of Obama’s whispered “flexibility” on missile defence? Well, it might amount to some genuine considerations and satisfaction of Russia’s concerns, but it might just be some words. After all, what was preventing Obama from doing something in this direction in the last four years? We shall see, but I don’t expect anything much. And, as I have argued elsewhere, the famous “reset” has not reset Washington’s conviction that Moscow will never be a reliable sled dog in the team.
But the reality is that Washington’s foreign concerns will be driven, as they have been since 2001 (and earlier) by some unexpected development in the Middle East/jihadist nexus and not by anything that originates from Moscow.