Opinions

Putin subverts Trump administration

 

Rebecca Vicente

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump demonstrate symbiotic amity, which is emblematic of the deep-seated connections between the Russian government and officials of the Trump
administration.

On Nov. 9, Putin congratulated Trump on his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton. While the gesture may seem to be just a simple diplomatic move from one world leader to another, it is far more than that. It is symbolic of an elaborate and comprehensive relationship, which would only begin to reveal itself in its true capacity over the course of the next several months. Secret meetings and wishful promises are coming under public scrutiny.

The extent to which Trump and members of his campaign implicate themselves in business and alliances with Putin, his associates and Russian companies is downright alarming. Russian influence is rampant across the administration. Everyone from members of Trump’s cabinet, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to his campaign advisers, including Paul Manafort and Carter Page, all have varying degrees of interest in Russian industry.

Trump’s Russian ties delegitimize him as a trustworthy president and also impact diplomatic relations with Russia.

“Believe me!” is no longer a defense for Trump’s policies when his own, handpicked national security adviser chose to consciously withhold information from Vice President Mike Pence regarding his interactions with and promises made to the Russian ambassador.

It is hypocritical of citizens to stand by Trump’s “America First” policy when his secretary of state has done extensive business with oil and energy companies owned by the Russian government.

Beyond the domestic consequences, Trump’s involvement with Putin also has ramifications on diplomatic relations as a whole. Every word that Trump says about Putin and every move that he makes involving Russia will need to be examined under intense scrutiny just to make sure that no ulterior motives are guiding his actions.

One might argue that this kind of analysis is far from necessary and that it is an overreaction to suddenly become paranoid of what kinds of surreptitious agreements might be happening behind closed doors, but that is far from the case.

What Trump does not realize is that his actions have critical significance on a global scale. While Trump may be taking his developing friendship with Putin at face value, it is almost certain that Putin has an ulterior motive in mind.

U.S.-imposed sanctions are dangerous for an already debilitated Russian economy and Putin has made it evident that he wishes to return Russia to its Cold War-era prowess through potential annexation of former East Bloc states. Whether it be an economic gain in the form of lifted sanctions or geopolitical gain through complicity in the event of an invasion similar to that of the Russian occupation of Crimea, Putin has expressed support for Trump even before Election Day for a reason.

Even though the president may not realize it, Putin has taken note of the fact that Trump is unlike any other president. He is more than willing to break long-established foreign policy precedent to prove that he is putting “America first.” In doing so, Putin hopes to capitalize on the idea that Trump will look the other way if Russia makes an audacious maneuver in the Baltic region, based on the notion that intervening in such an international incident would needlessly put U.S. assets at risk.

Never before have U.S. citizens been required to question their president and his administration’s motives and allegiances. The very fact that such close inspection is necessary is ridiculous and embarrassing for a country that prides itself on its nationalism and democratic values. The world should be afraid of the consequences that may arise out of the Trump-Russia connection.

March 27, 2017

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