Trump Getting Tough on Russia? ⛏️

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Sanctions-time for Putin and buddie

Yesterday, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a number of Russian organizations and individuals as punishment for Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and other “malicious cyber attacks”. It marked a dramatic shift in the administration’s posture toward Russia.

 

Quite a rap sheet

These sanctions come one week after the Russian government poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter in London. The U.S. government also revealed yesterday that the Russians have been hacking into American industrial infrastructure and were behind a cyber attack last year that cost billions of dollars in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

 

Russia did it. Sad.

Yesterday, in reference to the poisoning in London, President Trump said that "it certainly looks like the Russians were behind it”; he did not, however, directly address Russian interference in the 2016 election.



The right sees these sanctions as an appropriate shift in the Trump administration’s policies toward Russia: Putin is actively attacking the U.S. and its allies, and so Trump is right to be hard on them now. Some coverage on the right suggests that Trump has long had a rational strategy of avoiding criticism of Russia in hopes that relations would improve, to the benefit of the U.S. Now that it’s clear that Russia is still on the attack, that strategy is no longer the right one.

The left sees these sanctions as too little, too late - and only more proof that Trump is suspiciously soft on Putin. Coverage from the left points out that Trump did not and has not acknowledged Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and that it took him a full week to address the attack in London. For the left, this is Trump acting against Russia only reluctantly, without any other choice.


Is Trump in Putin’s pocket?

That’s the big question. The right makes a good argument: a reset of relations with Russia would be good for the U.S. That could be what Trump was trying to do all along. On the other hand, it’s reasonable to think that Trump - with his ego - would never acknowledge that Russia may have helped him win the election - regardless of whether he was involved or knew about it. Trump’s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in league with Putin.

Putin: Russia sanctions? No problemo.

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