Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul wrote an opinion piece Monday defending President Donald Trump’s decision to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Prior to Monday’s summit in Helsinki, Trump faced criticism for meeting with Putin, ignoring calls to cancel the one-on-one session in order to hold Russia accountable for aggression against the United States and other democracies around the world.
In the Politico piece, he explains the danger of politicizing foreign relations, noting those who play politics have forgotten that America’s security is achieved through maintaining diplomacy with the countries, friend or foe. (RELATED: Trump Sits Down With Putin In Finland)
“Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as in the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia,” Paul wrote. “So I applaud President Trump for both chiding out NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with President Putin.”
The Kentucky senator explained that even during the most hostile of times, Russia and the United States have engaged in open discussions and consistent diplomacy. It was not until Trump was elected president that “Russophobes” began inflaming an anti-Russian frenzy, accusing Trump of “collusion” for partaking in ordinary meetings with government officials.
“Of course, we don’t have to make decision[s] based on whether they will or will not make Russia mad. But we should at the very least recognize the impact of our actions before we take them. There seems to be a lack of thought and rush to action among some critics of the president’s meeting with Putin.”
“Russia doesn’t need to be considered our friend. But we certainly have overlapping interests — Syria, Islamic terrorism and energy — that require us to have an open dialogue and relationship,” Paul continued.
Paul concluded the piece announcing an upcoming trip he will take to Russia to discuss “common ground with their leaders and help prevent further, unnecessary escalation of tensions.”
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