Muftic: Trump’s foreign policy: make Russia great again?
Donald Trump in last week’s”Commander in Chief” forum called Vladimir Putin a better leader than President Obama. That bromance between Trump and Putin is more than just a matter of flattery and egos. It has real repercussions for future conduct of foreign policy if Trump is elected. Trump supports foreign policies that dovetail neatly with Russia’s,, excusing the Russian grab of the Crimea, going
along with the stealth invasion of Eastern Ukraine, calling NATO obsolete as a military defense alliance, and fuzzy about whether Russia’s ally Assad in Syria must go, None of those policies are in America’s or our allies’ interests. Only when it comes to fighting ISIS do Russia and the US have much in common, but even then the devil will be when any peace agreements are negotiated, as Russia will be firm to protect Assad.
When Trump calls Putin a better leader than Obama, his definition of “better” in context seems to be a popularity contest,since he cites Putin’s style of leadership that rates a high 85% approval . This compares with Pres. Obama’s current 50-51% approval rating,comparable to the highest rating Ronald Reagan had also his last year in office, per Gallup.
If popularity is the measure of strong, certainly Obama would have been much stronger if he also controlled media the way Vladimir Putin did. His media critics were mysteriously killed or silenced. Most of competing oligarchs are in jail or in exile. Putin has been able to bring great popular approval from a country feeling the loss of power and control of territory after the Cold War and glasnost,, and using oil revenues to make their consumer economy flourish. While Putin’s leadership style seems to work for Russians, it is a mockery of a liberal democracy as we know it in America, which respects freedom of the press and speech and an independent judiciary, among other attributes. Putin governs like an autocrat. Trump would like to be one, too, often proclaiming that in the first week of office he would do such and such .He often appears absolutely ignorant of the US Constitution, separation of powers, and other restraints our founding fathers wrote into that document to make sure we would never have an emperor or king governing with tyrannical might or divine right.
Most recently Trump vowed to purge generals that were “rubble” in the Obama administration and installing generals who were known to be supportive of him from whom he would take advice in shaping mid- east policy, though he “knows ISIS better than the generals”. That is a trick Putin could pull off since he has virtually eliminated opponents. Trump would run up against Senate confirmation of the highest ranking generals and rank protection rules of those below, so that we might be spared that kind of self-verifying advice from pre-screened yes men.
Trump likes to boast he knows how to negotiate, but could he ever drive a hard bargain with Russia in negotiations over differences?. He seems more prone to simply agree with Russian foreign policy in all of its aspects. Trump’s foreign policy is more like Make Russia Great again. He just objects “to their system” while not understanding how Putin rose to power, and yet he embraces the end result of being a “strong man”.
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