Donald Trump's two most recent foreign policy scandals — his pressuring of Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky and the decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria — have both reportedly provided Russian president Vladimir Putin with a direct benefit, Newsweek reports.
According to Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, the decisions have not just helped Russia, but also undermined the United States' global standing. McFaul claims that Trump's Ukraine conduct has harmed Washington-Kiev relations, as well as Ukraine's international image. As for his Syria withdrawal, it led to the U.S. clashing with NATO, and relinquished the country's power in the region, leaving a power vacuum for Russia and Iran to fill.
"Trump has personalized, privatized, and deinstitutionalized foreign policy to the detriment of the national interest," McFaul wrote in an op-ed for Foreign Affairs.
Although McFaul admits that Trump's foreign policy began very much aligned with Barack Obama's, as time has gone on, it has raised eyebrows — in particular, when it comes to anything Russia-related.
"The Kremlin may, at long last, be getting what it wants," McFaul said, adding that Trump's many mistakes, such as marginalizing the professionals that typically "usually shape and execute U.S. foreign policy," has ultimately benefitted Russia.
"The result has been a disaster for U.S. national interests and a boon for Russia," he said.