VideoCast: Trump’s Russian Albatross

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam, November 2017

I joined Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story on Sunday to consider how Donald Trump — and US foreign policy — have been compromised by the relationship of Trump and his advisors with Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin.

The discussion begins with Trump’s weekend statements expressing belief in Putin over Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election. It continues with a look at how Moscow’s leverage has bolstered interventions from Ukraine to Syria and supported Russian efforts for the removal of US sanctions.

The other contributors are Alexey Khlebnikov of the Russian International Affairs Council and former FBI deputy general counsel Lisa Osofsky.

What Russia is trying to do is exploit Trump’s personal view to get foreign policy advantage. Because Trump says, off the top of his head, “Putin’s a great guy we’ve got to work with him”, Russia says, “Let’s leverage that to pull the US along in Syria.”

Russia’s also going to try to leverage this with Trump over Ukraine. And the Russians are going to use the personal relationship with Trump to fight back against Congress passing additional sanctions.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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