The legacy media has decided that President Trump is in the pocket of Vladimir Putin. It must be true, they said, because Trump wasn’t tough enough today in his meeting with the Russian president.
Surely, if this is the case, there must be plentiful evidence in his foreign policy to prove this theory. To the disappointment of the legacy media, however, no such evidence exists. In fact, an argument can be made that we now live under the most hawkish president on Russia since Ronald Reagan.
First of all, it was always foolish to expect the president to verbally slap down Putin. After witnessing how he dealt with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, many have come to understand how President Trump operates diplomatically, face to face. The president came to the Helsinki summit with clear goals, none of which would be forwarded by a rhetorical assault on the Russian president.
Now, let’s tune out the hyperventilating media for a moment and examine the president’s record on Russia-related foreign policy matters thus far.
The Iran deal
If the president were a shill for Russia, he never would have left the Iran nuclear deal. The Iran deal served to empower the Russian ally and deliver a path to an Iranian nuke within the next decade. President Trump’s withdrawal from the deal also unleashed a variety of new sanctions against the Iranian regime. Fearing American sanctions, Russia has been forced to pull back some of its business ties to Tehran.
The Iranian regime
The Iranian regime is a key partner to Russia. Yet the Trump administration is tightening the screws on the Islamic dictatorship. The Trump administration recognizes the regime as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and as the illegitimate ruler of Iran.
In May, U.S. forces in Syria acted in self-defense and obliterated hundreds of alleged Russian mercenaries targeting their position.
The U.S. under Trump has acted repeatedly against Russia’s allies in the country, such as the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and other Iran-backed actors.
In March, the president authorized the sale of lethal anti-tank missiles to our allies in Ukraine, who are currently waging war against Russian soldiers and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
U.S. policy still recognizes Crimea as part of Ukraine. Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, when Barack Obama was president.
Last week in Brussels, the president called out German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her coziness with the Russians. He noted that Germany was undermining the NATO alliance and becoming “captive to Russia” by brokering massive energy deals with Moscow.
Booting Russian diplomats
In March, President Trump revoked the credentials of 60 Russian “diplomats” who were accused of breaking protocol and of possibly being spies. The move was made in solidarity with our western allies after Russia was accused of poisoning its former spy, who was then residing in the United Kingdom.
The Trump-Russia conspiracy theory that Donald Trump colluded with the Kremlin to win the election is always the fallback option. The opposition has now determined, by the president’s rhetoric Monday afternoon alone, that he is controlled by Moscow, therefore sustaining the Trump-Russia “collusion” conspiracy. Yet outside this tinfoil hat conspiracy, there is no evidence that the president has made a single major pro-Russia move through his foreign policy since being elected.