According to the Washington Post, some White House officials worry that Russian president Vladimir Putin is playing on Donald Trump’s “inexperience and lack of detailed knowledge about issues” and is revving him up by “stoking Trump’s grievances”.
“The Russian president complains to Trump about ‘fake news’ and laments that the U.S. foreign policy establishment — the ‘deep state,’ in Putin’s words — is conspiring against them, the first senior U.S. official said.”
Trump’s combative foreign policy approach has long demonstrated he has little interest in the long history in America’s alliances or the foreign policy expertise of the U.S. government, according to current and former U.S. and European officials. Instead of looking to history or advice from experts, he relies on his instincts and his ability to forge a personal bond with world leaders, as seen recently when he proclaimed he would be relying more on ‘attitude’ than preparation for the meeting with Kim Jong Un at the Singapore Summit.
As ever, Trump can see no wrong in autocratic Putin. While the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats, Trump has avoided criticizing Putin and even suggested that Russia be re-instated into the G7. According to former national security advisor H.R. McMaster, “The president thinks he can be friends with Putin. I don’t know why, or why he would want to be.”
The warnings have been around for a long time.
House majority leader told colleagues last year "I think Putin pays" Trump. Paul Ryan told them not to leak remarks. https://t.co/vrBJ6s4Plj
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 17, 2017
Despite the feelings of others in the Administration, Trump seems to think that Putin is and should be his personal confidante. And Putin, to some degree at least, is promoting the idea. In response to Trump’s complaints of influential bodies conspiring against them, Putin told Trump: “It’s not us. It’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”
Trump will meet with Putin in Helsinki on July 16. It will be interesting to see what comes of this meeting since “no one knows quite what to expect”. My guess is that after the photo-ops and pageantry, it will just be another opportunity for Putin to play on Trump’s insecurities. Of course he’ll be sure to reassure Trump of their friendship, which seems to be flourishing despite all odds. What a lovely bromance story.