Opinion

Russia’s Trump Problem

Since well before Donald Trump was elected president, the media have been obsessed with his supposed Russia problem—stemming from the Putin regime’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and its purported ties to key members of Trump’s campaign.

But the real issue surrounding Trump and Russia has nothing to do with collusion between Trump and Russia. Rather, it has to do with the problems Trump will create for Russia and its interests.

Think about it: If you wanted to hurt the Russians, what would you do? Their economy is on the verge of recession and they have only two major exports — oil and natural gas. If you wanted to hurt Russia, you would unleash the American energy industry to drive down the price of oil. If you wanted to hurt Russia, you would reconsider one-sided arms control treaties, increase the defense budget, as Trump has proposed to do by ten percent, and follow Ronald Reagan’s playbook and rebuild the American military. (Here’s some irony:  Virtually all of the Democrats fretting about Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia will vote against his proposed military buildup.) And if you wanted to hurt Russia, you would tell our NATO allies to drop the socialism and beef up their own defenses.

If you wanted to hurt Russia, you would make America great again. And that’s exactly what President Trump is doing. On every count, Donald Trump’s policies are working against Russia’s interests.

Consider that Trump has criticized the START arms control treaty with Russia as “just another bad deal that the country made.” START required parity in strategic nuclear arsenals between the US and Russia. “It’s a one-sided deal like all other deals we make,” Trump told Reuters. “It’s a one-sided deal. It gave them things that we should have never allowed.” Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Commission on International Affairs in the Russian State Duma, said that Trump’s statements are a “source for concern” for Russia.

Or consider that Donald Trump has signed executive orders that will make it easier to construct two oil pipelines that were long delayed because of the Obama administration’s meddling. According to CNN, the US will import just 11 percent of its oil from abroad by the end of Trump’s first term in 2020, down from 65 percent in 2005.

America’s revolution in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and Trump’s pro-energy agenda have helped place Putin’s petro-state on the verge of recession. Trump’s focus on energy independence and bolstering US defenses explains why Russian state-run media has turned on Trump.

Despite all this, the media continue to portray Trump as a lap dog of the Kremlin. But recall that it was George W. Bush who said he looked Russia’s Vladimir Putin in the eye and “was able to get a sense of his soul.” And it was Barack Obama who dismissed Russia as a “regional power” and ridiculed Mitt Romney’s suggestion that Russia was America’s chief geopolitical foe.

This week FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers testified before the House Intelligence Committee about Trump’s Russia connections.

The “big news” from the hearing so far appears to be Comey’s statement that there is an active, ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the election and potential collusion by the Trump campaign.

But James Clapper, Obama’s director of National Intelligence, recently said that he saw no evidence of collusion between anyone on the Trump campaign and the Russians. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of House Intelligence Committee, has said publicly that he has seen no evidence of collusion. Even former President Obama has stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the 2016 election results were interfered with in any way.

And Obama’s acting CIA Director Michael Morell appeared at an intelligence community forum recently. When asked about the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians, Morell bluntly stated: “There is no fire at all. There’s no little campfire. There’s no little candle. There’s no spark. And there’s a lot of people looking for it.”

Allegations of collusion between the Trump administration and Russia will likely follow the president throughout his term—the liberal media will make sure of that. And the media will likely continue to ignore the real news about Trump and Russia—that Trump’s efforts to “make America great again” are in direct conflict with Russia’s interests.

 

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of Campaign for Working Families.