The Trump administration’s back-pedalling on a positive conversation with Pakistan is not the only instance of the new President’s confusing stance on foreign policy. One of the more significantly talked about points in Mr Trump’s campaign was a suggestion of changing the age-old trend of hostility towards Russia, but according to news reports US military heads still have their way and the defence budget is to be restructured to more adequately address the ‘Russia threat’.

The two Presidents have made more than one favourable remark for the other – President Putin called his new American counterpart a ‘clever man’ on December 4 and President-elect Trump often extended the olive branch to President Putin on the campaign trail. The statement from President Putin came after he had already opened doors for the new administration by saying that Russia would be “ready to co-operate with the new US administration.”

Campaign promises aside, Russia and the US continue to be engaged on opposite ends of various conflicts across the globe, with Syria and Ukraine two of the most recent examples – completely reformulating a new policy might have been just campaign rhetoric. Defence heads of the US are looking to counter threats from Russia on the nuclear, cybersecurity, space and missile capability fronts and it might be hard to convince Moscow to decrease tensions with increased weaponisation.

Election campaign promises and positive statements aside, the long-standing rivalry between Russia and the US is not likely to dissipate with one change at the top of the ladder, when the President’s own party, administration and the US allies and NATO are not likely to support any move to increase friendship. Greater dialogue between the two countries might be achievable, but with both countries in opposing corners, it is hard to see anything beyond that. This is a sad realisation, considering the situation in Syria and Iraq, and the lack of care the two superpowers have shown for ending bloodshed.