After months of breathlessly reporting on President Trump’s cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post now claims both countries are on the precipice of another Cold War.
“The United States and Russia have descended to a new low point in relations, with waves of sanctions and escalating retaliation,” the editorial board wrote Tuesday. “Twenty-five years after the Cold War ended, relations are back in a deep freeze. What happened?”
The Post’s narrative until now has been that President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart were too close, working in conjunction during the election to give Trump the presidency. But the Post’s piece was largely addressing the actions of Putin, and pitting him against the protestations and actions of former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Mr. Putin seethed over Ms. Clinton’s outspoken support for the principle of free speech during the 2011-2013 protests against him” according the the editorial board. “The sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama last December and recently tightened by Congress did not appear out of thin air.”
The Post took issue with Putin annexing Crimea and then inciting an insurrection in Ukraine’s Danbos after the ousting of their former president and Putin ally, Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
“Another poor and deliberate choice was to interfere with the U.S. election campaign” according to the board. Russia “cannot escape responsibility” for trying to damage Clinton’s campaign and “perhaps, tip the election to Donald Trump.” Although there is evidence Russia hacking took place during the election, there is no evidence as of yet that said tampering affected the outcome of the election.
Past engagements between the two leaders have come under intense scrutiny by the media, which is heavily invested in the Trump-Russia meddling narrative, and were framed as being too friendly towards Russia.
A table-side conversation between Trump and Putin after dinner in July at the G-20 summit was treated as an “undisclosed meeting,” while the administration insists it was simply an “informal conversation.” Trump’s disclosed meeting with Putin and his “persistent overtures toward Russia” are framed as not being tough enough.
Nowhere in the Post’s piece was Trump’s relationship with Putin addressed, or his administrations approach to dealing with Russia. Strangely, the editorial board concludes their article with some ironic advice: “We have long believed that U.S.-Russian engagement is essential to avert miscalculation, and it remains important for both Washington and Moscow to keep talking.”
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