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President Trump is Hardly Weak on Putin's Russia

President Donald Trump has been accused by his critics of being weak on Vladimir Putin's Russia, which has cemented its status as a global pariah due to its aggressive military actions and repeated interference in foreign elections. Today, Trump attempted to put those accusations to rest, stating that he has been stronger on Russia than his predecessors:

An examination of President Trump's policies, rather than his words, backs up this claim. Since Trump has taken office,

  • Anti-tank weapons have been sold to Ukraine, allowing them to defend themselves against Russian advances.
  • The U.S. has ramped up sanctions on Russian industrialists and members of the Russian government because of Putin's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Missiles have been repeatedly deployed against Bashar al-Assad’s airfields in Syria, a direct challenge to Russia’s influence in the Middle East.
  • NATO nations have been encouraged to increase their military spending, which would build an affront against Russian advances (especially in the Eastern bloc).
  • Through deregulation and pipelines, the U.S. is expanding its natural gas exportation prowess, challenging Russia’s key industry: energy. In addition, the president is encouraging Europe to wean off of Putin's gas, confronting Germany due to its plans to build another pipeline to Russia.
  • Russian diplomats have been expelled from the U.S. because of Putin's political assassinations  in Europe.

President Trump's harshness in the face of Russia represents a sharp contrast to former President Barack Obama, who "reset" U.S. relations with Putin.

Barack Obama

Under Obama's presidency,

  • Russia’s ally in the Middle East, Syria, used poison gas on innocent civilians.
  • Russia invaded Crimea, a region of Ukraine, and illegally annexed it after a sham referendum.
  • Russia interfered in the Republic of Georgia’s 2012 parliamentary elections and in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
  • A Russian state-owned company was given permission to purchase 20% of the United States’ uranium production capacity. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton -- then the secretary of State -- received donations from figures involved in the negotiations.
  • Georgia, partially occupied by Russian forces, was promised and then refused entry into the NATO alliance. In fact, Obama drove the nail in Georgia's coffin by saying that there were no plans to admit them, making Georgians feel "deeply disappointed and betrayed" because their "military efforts and sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan were ignored or unnoticed by the United States," according to The Jamestown Foundation.

Ultimately, history, not the wailings of the mainstream media, will determine whether it was Obama or Trump who was tougher on Russia.