The number of pro-Putin positions that Donald Trump has taken has assumed quite remarkable proportions. He:
- Wants to reduce America’s commitment to NATO and reorient its activities to the Middle East. This is perhaps Vladmir Putin’s greatest foreign policy desire.
- Says America has no moral standing to complain about human and civil rights violations.
- Welcomed Russia’s incursion into Syria.
- Considers Putin a great leader.
- Would consider eliminating sanctions against Russia and recognizing their annexation of Crimea.
- Wants to weaken American ties to its allies by insisting that he will walk away from them unless they pay us more for our military protection.
- Never mentions Russia in his otherwise endless litany of countries that are taking advantage of us.
- Opposes sending arms to Ukraine.
- Is pro-Brexit.
- Isn’t sure he would defend the Baltics if Russia attacked them.
Have I missed anything? I probably have. It’s hard to keep track.
Many of these are defensible positions on their own. I don’t support sending arms to Ukraine, for example. Plenty of conservatives are pro-Brexit. And plenty of lefties would like to see us reduce our military footprint worldwide.
But even if you personally agree with an item or three on this list, the whole thing adds up to something unprecedented for an American candidate for president. Donald Trump considers America at odds with virtually the entire world. He’s based his entire campaign on this. At various times he’s mentioned China, Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, and the entire Pacific Rim. But never Russia. On the contrary, his list of positions toward Russia is basically Vladimir Putin’s dream foreign policy. For a guy suffering under crippling sanctions, a tanking economy, low oil prices, and a demographic time bomb, Donald Trump is offering him everything he could possibly want. And what does Trump want in return? For Russia—and only for Russia—he wants nothing.
As much as I loathe Putin, I’m not among those who now think Mitt Romney was right when he listed Russia as our #1 geopolitical threat. Conservative fearmongering on the subject leaves me cold. Nonetheless, this list is not a coincidence. There’s something behind the scenes guiding it. But what?