Trump’s two Russias confound US policy

Because the president contends Vladimir Putin is a 'misunderstood friend,' the national security establishment is torn between appeasing Trump or maintaining a tough approach to an archenemy whose goal has been to undermine democracy.


National News

July 1, 2020 - 9:31 AM

President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin in 2018. Photo by Valery Sharifulin/Tass/Abaca Press/TNS

WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to Russia, the Trump administration just can’t seem to make up its mind.

For the past three years, the administration has careered between President Donald Trump’s attempts to curry favor and friendship with Vladimir Putin and longstanding deep-seated concerns about Putin’s intentions. As Trump has repeatedly and openly cozied up to Putin, his administration has imposed harsh and meaningful sanctions and penalties on Russia.

The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes.

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