In part of the Trump administration’s strategy to use a Russian reset as a way to combat Islamic terrorism, the White House is searching for ways to break the diplomatic and military alliance between Russia and Iran. In doing so, President Trump hopes to end the ongoing war in Syria and refocus both Russia and the U.S. on the fight against the Islamic State.
Senior administration officials say that Trump has enlisted European and Arab allies in the discussions.
From Fox News:
A senior administration official said the White House doesn’t have any illusions about Russia or see Mr. Putin as a “choir boy,” despite further conciliatory statements from Mr. Trump about the Russian leader over the weekend. But the official said that the administration doesn’t view Russia as the same existential threat that the Soviet Union posed to the U.S. during the Cold War and that Mr. Trump was committed to constraining Iran.
Republicans and Democrats alike, meanwhile have been disturbed by some of Trump’s remarks about Putin. In a Super Bowl Sunday interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump responded to questions about Putin’s nefarious deeds by saying, “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”
Unfortunately, it may be that such comments will be necessary to change the geopolitical landscape in such a way that the U.S. and Russia can forge a tentative alliance against Islamic terrorism. In the meantime, however, it gives Trump’s critics more ammunition to demand an investigation into his ties with Putin’s government and it insults American patriots who don’t want to hear the president suggest that the U.S. and Russia are moral equivalents.
“Putin’s a former KGB agent,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a CNN interview. “He’s a thug. He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election. The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine and messed around in our elections. And no, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does.”
But if Fox News’s administration sources are correct, President Trump is on the same page as McConnell and others. Unlike them, however, he knows that it could take a bit of flattery to win Putin’s trust and move towards a new strategy as it pertains to ISIS. Clearly, he understands that when it comes to threats against the United States, ISIS is a much more pressing concern than Russia.