U.S. Politics

9 questions about Russia you were too embarrassed to ask


A lot of history here. Also the backstory of a Eurodance hit.

Vladimir Putin and the nation he leads lurked in the background of the 2016 campaign for months and months, perhaps even shaping the outcome of the race. And now Putin’s preferred candidate, Donald Trump, appears ready to embrace him as an ally — a stunning shift in US-Russia policy.

This is a source of growing alarm among cosmopolitan-minded liberals. Putin is bad, they say, and so are the European far-right parties that are aligning with him — a multicontinental alliance undergirded by Islamophobic politics that alarms respectable opinion throughout the West.

And among political elites there really is a fairly firm consensus that this is, in fact, bad. America’s military leaders have repeatedly called Russia the greatest threat to the US-led world order. Among Republicans, it’s the ones focused on national security who put up the greatest resistance to Trump, and since the election he’s gotten more pushback from Senate Republicans on the Russian hacking issue than on anything else. Hillary Clinton’s campaign clearly sought to make hay out of this, arguing that Trump would be Putin’s puppet.

But the mass public is relatively indifferent to foreign affairs and mostly doesn’t seem to care about this. Foreign policy is the classic sort of issue that doesn’t matter in politics until something goes badly wrong, at which point it starts to matter a lot.

National security leaders across the spectrum worry, with good reason, that the kind of friendly arrangement Trump seems to want to make with Russia would only shift the ratchet and end up involving the United States in more direct military engagements in Europe that we’d rather not put to the test.

But the Cold War has been over for a long time, and both the US-Russian relationship and Russia’s approach to Europe have changed while most Americans weren’t paying attention. Here, then, is an attempt to answer some of your most basic questions about the contemporary US-Russian relationship and where it might head in the Trump era.

One thought on “9 questions about Russia you were too embarrassed to ask

  1. This article is the most realistic and enlightening I have yet encountered.
    My compliments and thanks to Sheila (ks) for presenting it here for us.
    If you – the TFC readers – did not read it, you really should go back and do so!


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