Washington Post: I'm sorry, but Trump is not tough on Russia

It is not true that Donald Trump behaves harshly towards Russia, it would be even harder, said former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. Trump's statement would have been closer to the truth if he had spoken not about himself, but about his administration. In the US, there has never been such a huge discrepancy between the presidential administration and the president himself, writes the Washington Post.

Washington Post: I'm sorry, but Trump is not tough on Russia

Michael McFaul

To defend against collusion and collaboration with the Russian state during and after the presidential election, President Trump recently repeated the familiar statement: I am behaving MUCH harsher towards Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Probably tougher than any other American president.

His statement would have been closer to the truth if Trump had spoken not about himself, but about his administration. The Trump administration is pursuing a tough policy toward Russia, and I mainly support it. But Trump himself does nothing of the kind. For the past two years, he has constantly made it clear that he is against the policy that his administration has been implementing with respect to Russia.

In the national security strategy of the Trump administration, its very harsh and open that China and Russia are challenging American power, influence and interests, trying to undermine the security and well-being of the United States. However, Trump never supported such an approach. He makes opposite statements, repeating again and again that he wants to be friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that getting along with Russia is good, not bad.

When Putin in 2014 invaded the territory of Ukraine and annexed the Crimea, the Obama administration increased military spending in Europe and insisted on strengthening NATOs military capabilities, including the deployment of additional forces and assets near the Russian borders. The Trump administration supported this course and strengthened it. And Trump, being a candidate and president, stubbornly scolds, criticizes and weakens NATO. Most recently, we learned that he even threatened to withdraw from this alliance. Even media reports on such threats are a generous gift for Putin, because they undermine the authority of NATO, which is the basis of the deterrent and frightening effect of this alliance.

The Obama administration quite rightly continues Obamas policy of sanctions against Russian officials and companies in response to Putins belligerent behavior. Trump has never expressed support for such sanctions. When the president signed the law On counteracting the enemies of America through sanctions, he openly expressed his disregard for him. And then, for no reason, the Trump team called for the lifting of sanctions against Oleg Deripaska-controlled companies, although Putin didnt change his belligerent behavior one iota.

In November 2018, Putin detained over 20 Ukrainian sailors in international waters. The Trump administration has rightly criticized these criminal activities. And Trump said almost nothing. Only this: It is not good. We are very unhappy about this. We do not like what is happening on both sides. At both sides? Are Ukrainians also guilty of this crime? To this day, the President has not publicly taken any action to free the arrested Ukrainians.

The Trump administration is trying to limit Russia's influence in the Middle East and exert the maximum possible pressure on Russias most important ally in this region, Iran. However, Trump has just announced his desire to withdraw American troops and military equipment from Syria, that is, to do exactly what Putin is seeking with his Iranian allies.

The US intelligence community and Special Attorney Robert Muller provided ample evidence that the Russian state violated US sovereignty during the 2016 presidential election. Senior officials from the administration approved these estimates, unlike Trump. When he had the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his toughness on this issue during a joint press conference with Putin after the summer meeting and talks in Helsinki, Trump did the opposite, saying: I completely trust my intelligence people, but I have to tell you that President Putin has today made very strong and convincing denials. And then he added: President Putin says that this is not Russia, I see no reason to believe that it is she.

At the same meeting, Putin told Trump, and then the whole world, a crazy tale about how a small group of former officials from the US government allegedly helped launder money from Russia, and then transferred part of the funds to Clintons headquarters. Then Putin asked Trump to give Russia the opportunity to interrogate these alleged criminals. Putin included me among them. Trump said it was an amazing offer.

Officials from the Trump administration occasionally (though not as often as they should) criticize Putins repressive domestic policies. Trump himself did not say a word about how important it is to defend human rights in Russia. Not a single word. On the contrary, he regularly talks about the moral equivalence of the actions of the United States and Russia on the world stage. When he was called to criticize Putin, Trump attacked the United States with criticism, saying: We also have a lot of murderers. Do you think our country is so innocent?

Even in irrelevant issues that have almost no relation to the national interests of the United States, Trump takes the side of Putin. Why did he stand up for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? Why does Trump fearfully say that Montenegro could provoke a third world war? All this is Putin's arguments. Why are they echoed by the president of the United States of America?

I do not remember such a policy (in relation to Russia or any other country) in which there would be such huge differences between the presidential administration and the president himself. This is unheard-of. Consequently, the important question is not which American president acted harshly towards Russia, but why our current president is doing everything possible to distance himself from his governments policy towards Russia.
dle 10.4

Author: Admin
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