Last week Trump tweeted that those who challenge his approach to Russia are stupid or fools.
Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only "stupid" people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
There are those who would disagree. Most notably, some of our European allies.
Josh Rogin reports today on a letter he obtained that has been sent to the president-elect from “leaders, fighting on the front line of the battle against Putin’s drive to upend the democratic world order.” Signatories include Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and several former heads of state/foreign ministers from Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden.
Here are some excerpts from the letter:
Russia’s continuing efforts to destabilize Ukraine, and its illegal annexation of Crimea, threaten the peace, predictability and security that Americans and Europeans created together through our victory in the Cold War. We are concerned that the prospect of a new grand bargain with Russia will endanger this historic achievement.
It would be a grave mistake to end the current sanctions on Russia or accept the division and subjugation of Ukraine. Doing so would demoralize those seeking a Euro-Atlantic orientation for that country. It would also destabilize our Eastern neighborhood economically and give heart to extremist, oligarchic and anti-Western elements there.
The wider damage would be grave too. The aftershocks of such a deal would shake American credibility with allies in Europe and elsewhere. The rules-based international order on which Western security has depended for decades would be weakened. The alliances that are the true source of American greatness would erode: countries that have expended blood, treasure and political capital in support of transatlantic security will wonder if America is now no longer a dependable friend…
Under Putin, Russia’s record of militarism, wars, threats, broken treaties and false promises have made Europe a more dangerous place. Putin does not seek American greatness. As your allies, we do.
I am reminded that one of the Republicans’ favorite attacks on President Obama’s foreign policy has been to suggest that our allies no longer trust us. Of course, that was usually directed at the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently disregarded the Obama administration’s attempts to work towards a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. When it comes to Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, confidence in the outgoing administration has risen sharply over the years.
A Trump administration that cozies up to Putin is likely to be seen as disruptive to many of our allies around the world – as it has been expressed from those whose countries have the most to lose.