As reported by WSAV News, the ongoing bromance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is showing no signs of a breakup anytime soon, which could massively impact American-Russian relations. In spite of — or perhaps because of — evidence provided by multiple intelligence agencies that Russian operatives influenced or hacked the 2016 election process to tilt it toward Donald Trump, the Trump campaign/administration team apparently has no problem with the Russian dictator.
Donald Trump and NATO
Given what candidate Donald Trump has already set on the campaign trail regarding United States relations with its NATO allies, there is every reason to believe that a President Donald Trump will be far less supportive of NATO and its goals than any previous U.S. administration.
ABC News reports that Trump has suggested on more than one occasion that the NATO allies of the United States are not carrying their own weight and that those who are not shouldn’t necessarily expect the United States to rush to their assistance in the event of an attack.
In spring of '17, '18 or '19 when Putin takes Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia & the rest of Ukraine what does Trump & do? Answer? Nothing.— Joe DiSano (@JoeDiSano) December 11, 2016
His suggestion that NATO is obsolete caused tremendous concern among the tiny Baltic States bordering Russia — such as Lithuania and Estonia. This apparent reticence to commit American forces to the defense of our allies not only emboldens Russia and encourages Russian aggression, but it also ignores treaty obligations going back decades that have been honored by every Democratic and Republican president since the formation of the NATO alliance.
Putin’s Free Hand in the Ukraine
The decision by candidate Donald Trump – or rather by his pro-Russian advisors – to insist that references to the Ukraine and Vladimir Putin be removed from the Republican platform gives a clear indication of just how American Russian relations might change in the coming years.
According to VOA, Vladimir Putin seems to be attempting to return Russia to its position as a major world power, as well as to reconstitute at least some – if not all – of the political and geographical structure represented by the old USSR.
Putin’s forays into Crimea and Ukraine are representative of this. His use of indirect warfare – such as by sending in Russian soldiers disguised as local rebels – has proven surprisingly effective. This kind of asymmetrical warfare is something the United States would have to learn how to deal with in the future, except that Donald Trump seems likely to ignore it entirely.
The Breakup Of The EU
American-Russian relations will almost certainly be impacted by — and have an impact on — what looks like the impending breakup of the European Union. With the UK’s Brexit vote, as well as similar impending votes in other EU member states, a united Europe standing against Russian aggression seems less likely than it did.
While President Obama discouraged any such breakup of the EU, it seems fairly clear that Donald Trump would have no problem with such a dissolution of the European Union. In fact, one of Trump’s closest European advisors, Nigel Farage, was a principal force behind the British decision to exit the EU.
There have also been Russian overtures to Turkey, which has been a prospective candidate for membership in the EU – as well as a decades-long member of NATO. It seems likely that Putin would like to draw Turkey away from NATO membership – and he may well succeed under a Trump presidency.
During the final press conference of his administration, President Barack Obama suggested that Russia could not possibly overcome the United States since it is both smaller and population and weaker economically and militarily. But if — as seems evident — the Russians have successfully installed a pro-Russian president in the Oval Office, American-Russian relations may have tilted in Russia’s favor.
[Featured Image by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]