Leading up to and just after the U.S. presidential election, it became apparent that President Donald Trump and Russian leaders were interested in finding novel diplomatic solutions to disagreements between the two powers. But after an establishment-led effort to bring Trump in line with the foreign policy approach championed by his election opponent, that interest is rapidly dissolving.
Ahead of the 2016 election, Russian leader Vladimir Putin reportedly told his top military officials that a Hillary Clinton victory meant they should prepare for war.
At that time, Trump’s campaign rhetoric was peppered with calls for a new U.S. foreign policy approach that would see Washington walking back in its role as world policeman.
But a bombing raid on a Syrian airbase and the increasing likelihood that the U.S. is going to attempt to oust North Korea’s dictator, make clear that the U.S.’s role in the world hasn’t been diminished in favor of a more isolationist approach from the White House.
Russia, with two of its key allies feeling massive U.S. pressure, has noticed.
As Bloomberg reported:
Russian state television has no doubt who is unpredictable enough to bring the world to war in the North Korean crisis, and it’s not the reclusive communist dictator Kim Jong-Un.
According to Dmitry Kiselyov, the Kremlin’s top TV mouthpiece, the riskiest is Donald Trump, the man Russian officials and propagandists hailed just a few weeks ago as just the kind of leader the world needed.
In the latest sign of the Kremlin’s abrupt about-face on its erstwhile American hero, Kiselyov pronounced Trump “more dangerous” than his North Korean counterpart. “Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un,” he told viewers of his prime-time Sunday “Vesti Nedelyi” program, which earlier this year carried paeans to Trump for his pledge to warm up relations with Russia.
The changing attitudes in Russia come as the country ups its own saber-rattling in response to recent U.S. power plays under Trump.
On Monday, U.S. fighter pilots intercepted two Russian bombers flying in international airspace off the coast of Alaska.
The Pentagon downplayed the incident but many foreign policy observers pointed to it as a Russian attempt to remind the president that it won’t be bullied by the U.S.
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