There's a budding bromance between Donald Trump and Russia's president, Vladimir Putin — with the GOP presidential nominee's views lining up with the former KGB officer on a range of issues, according to a former Moscow bureau chief for CNN.
Jill Dougherty, an advisory council member at the Woodrow Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, argues in a commentary for CNN
that in Trump, "Putin sees potentially the most Russia-friendly U.S. presidential candidate" since he came to power in 1999.
"Trump is a tough-talker, just like Putin," she writes. "That's why he believes they're more likely to see eye-to-eye on a range of issues than [President Barack] Obama and Putin ever were."
Here's how some of Trump's policy pronouncements and Putin's agenda line up.
- Trump told CBS News' "Face the Nation" last October "as far as [Putin] attacking ISIS, I'm all for it," adding: "I think we probably work together much more so than right now."
- According to Dougherty, Putin sees in Trump "a more cooperative partner in Syria who shares his view that ISIS, not Russia, is the real threat."
- Trump told the New York Times earlier this month the United States "may not defend NATO allies like the Baltic states if they haven't "fulfilled their obligation."
- According to Dougherty, "this is music to Putin's ears," since he "sees NATO as a growing threat to Russian interests," and NATO "as obsolete in a post-Soviet Union world."
On the Democratic National Committee email hack:
- Trump tweeted the "new joke in town" is that Russia leaked the emails "because Putin likes me."
- Dougherty writes Russia denies involvement in the email hack, but that "Putin definitely has his reasons to support Trump" – and "still blames Hillary Clinton for stirring up anti-government street demonstrations in Russia."
On U.S. foreign policy:
- Trump, in his foreign policy speech last April, declared he believes an "easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength only, is possible."
- Dougherty writes that with Western sanctions in place, relations with Washington "couldn't get much worse." What's not to like about a possible "reset," she asks.
- Trump told MSNBC last December he favored letting Ukraine's "neighbors take a little bit more of an active role in the Ukraine."
- Dougherty writes Putin would view a Trump presidency as one that would stop trying to be the world's policeman "and let Russia and Ukraine sort this Crimea situation out for themselves."
- Trump said last December he felt it "a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
- Putin enjoys an 85 percent approval rating in his nation, Dougherty reports, adding: "Perhaps Trump can learn from Putin's strongman persona?"
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