Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

US-Russia Relations under President Trump


US-Russia Relations under  President Trump

Though US president Trump and Russian president Putin have not met officially, but the bromance between the two is already the talk of the town as much as it is a myth considering the bitter history between the two cold war arch nemeses. The U.S. media is already skeptical of the ongoing fondness to bolster an amicable rapport between the two leaders, and they constantly taunt white house officials over the prospects of such relationship.

President Trump is already walking a thin line confronting major Republican heavyweights both in senate and congress. A great number of core Republicans as John McCain and speaker Powel Ryan, are not in the same page when it comes to US-Russia relations and any thought of lifting the Obama imposed sanctions on Kremlin at this time. They have publically expressed their concern and discontent in giving president Putin and Russia any further opportunity to challenge American interests in the region.

No shocker, the majority of Democrats are also apprehensive about the increasing Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and above all, its recent cyber attacks on DNC (Democratic National Convention) computers prior to elections. They believe that the Russian’s intelligence with a green signal from president Putin himself, orchestrated the whole cyber hack which benefited president Trump getting elected. President Trump while acknowledging the Russian cyber hacking of the DNC computers after he was presented with evidence by the FBI and U.S. cyber command officials, nevertheless, he has repeatedly stated that the hacking had no impact on the elections outcome and he won the elections fair and square. The allegations have also been dismissed by president Putin and Russia.

President Trump and his inner circle, notably Steve Bannon and other top advisors are hoping for a reset in the US-Russia relations. A goodwill gesture has already been extended from Kremlin to amend relations with the new president in the White House; as well as open a new chapter of cooperation in regards to global security and lifting sanctions. No doubt there are hurdles considering the notion of skepticism and array of outstanding issues between the two global powers, which requires both time and changes to the prevailing political status quo in the region.

In spite of all these indications, the outstanding international disagreements over the Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and annexation of Crimea by Kremlin will determine the longevity and rationality of such relationship. In contrast to the official stance of the preceding president on Crimea, president Trump has occasionally expressed his indifference in regards to Crimea annexation, citing it not a priority for his administration’s foreign policy. Instead, he has shown his willingness to talk sanctions and reduction of nuke stockpiles between the two countries. He certainly faces strong opposition from veteran senator John McCain and Bernie Sanders along with other heavyweights in congress and senate who has called president Putin a thug and a gangster many times; believing the only way to stop Russia threatening its neighboring countries is through increased U.S. sanctions on Kremlin and isolating Moscow on the international front.

Post swearing in as the President Trump received the first blow when the story began surfacing about the leaked discrete conversations of the ousted National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn with the Russian ambassador to the US in the public eye. He was apparently discussing the prospects of US levied sanctions on Kremlin during the campaign trail with the ambassador. He has been since criticized and scrutinized by the media and house Democrats that immediately followed his early resignation since US constitution does not allow US citizens to initiate talks with foreign dignitaries prior to holding any official position.

In an unusual 80 minute press conference, a furious President Trump weighed on the issue and criticized senate Democrats and “dishonest media” for overstretching the news and politicizing the issue, while accepting his resignation, he praised him as a capable and outstanding man who was simply doing his job. He angrily accused low level leakers in the CIA and other intelligence agencies for leaking strictly confidential and classified information to the media. He pointed out that the very same individuals are also responsible for leaking the details of his phone calls and rough talks with the Australian prime minister and Mexican president, which were supposed to be strictly confidential. He then promised that as soon as his appointees take charge in these institutions, these low level leakers will be identified and dealt with accordingly.

President Trump went one step further, blasting the media for spreading fake news about Russia and demonizing his administration’s achievements and accomplishments. He continued reiterating how wonderful it will be if he and president Putin actually get along and resolve international issues with consultation and mutual understanding.

Naser Koshan is a freelance columnist based in Washington, USA. He can be reached at naserkoshan@yahoo.com

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