Trump saved St. Petersburg after the CIA tipped off the FSB about an impending terrorist attack there.
Russia immediately acted on the information and arrested several terrorist suspects who were said to be plotting an attack on the famous Kazan Cathedral, and President Putin was so grateful for the many lives that were saved as a result of this joint cooperation between the two Great Powers that he even called Trump and extended his personal thanks to the CIA and its Director.
This was a model-breaking moment for some because it shattered their worldview of the US, Trump, and especially the CIA as inherently evil forces obsessed with plotting against Russia.
That’s not to say that these three are angels, but just that the pursuit of their interests can sometimes take surprising forms such as the recent example of high-profile anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia that was so useful to Moscow that President Putin felt obliged to thank the CIA, something which would have otherwise been unthinkable for the former head of the FSB to do in the presently tense atmosphere of the New Cold War.
This just goes to show that Russia genuinely appreciates what the US did and is willing to work with it on all areas of shared interests across the world, which brings the analysis around to discussing why Washington would uncharacteristically engage in an act of goodwill such as this one towards its rival.
There’s of course a catch, and it’s that the US did the right thing for self-interested reasons that aren’t visibly or immediately apparent but have to do with its envisioned role in determining the outcome of the Russian-led “political solution” to the War on Syria.
The US has thus far been largely sidelined from this process, but has informally found a way to nevertheless make itself indispensable to it through the 2000 troops that it’s deployed in northeastern Syria and the 10 bases that it built there in support of the Kurdish-led “Syrian Democratic Forces” that now occupy this oil-rich and agriculturally wealthy one-third of the country.
In exchange for saving the lives of an untold number of people in President Putin’s hometown, the US expects Russia to respect its post-war interests in northeastern Syria by encouraging Damascus to agree to the northeastern region’s Kurdish-led “decentralization”, a goal which also overlaps with Moscow’s own for vastly different reasons.
Russia therefore isn’t opposed in principle to this implicit quid-pro-quo because it stands to benefit from expanding its “balancing” strategy in Syria to include the US, as this opens up the potential for furthering the long-desired objective of a so-called “New Détente” with Washington. That’s not to say that Russia will succeed in this scenario or that it’s even moving in that direction per se, but just that the US hopes that it will, otherwise the CIA might neglect to inform the FSB the next time they discover another imminent terrorist plot.