While Donald Trump has yet to assume the US presidency, a lot of Americans, particularly those in the opposing Democratic Party, are starting to get wary of his seeming closeness and open admiration to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump lauded Putin for declining to respond to Barack Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats last week after Obama accused Russia of cyber warfare, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
The President-elect of the US said that America should simply ignore the possibility that a rival power had sought to derail its election and that people should get on with their lives.
Trump also tweeted last week that it was a great move on the part of the Russian leader for not minding the allegations of Obama and added that he always knew that Putin was very smart.
But the bromance is not one-sided at all as there seems to be a mutual admiration going on between the two world leaders.
Putin has openly supported Trump during the recent US presidential elections. The Russian President said as early as December 2015 that Trump is really a brilliant and talented person.
He added then that it is not Russia’s job to judge Trump’s qualities because that is the job of the American voters. Putin said back then that Trump is the absolute leader in the US presidential race.
Share similar traits and characteristics
Masha Green, an author of several books on Russia, recently said that both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin share similar traits and characteristics.
She explained that both are short-tempered, thin-skinned, not very bright, and disinclined to listen to their respective advisers.
Green was obviously justifying the bromance happening between the two and it would further increase or heighten once Trump officially assumes the US presidency on January 20.
Still, there are competing theories about the relationship between the two men. Some point to the convolution of conflicts of interest Trump and his cabinet nominees bring to the office.
Apparently, his nominee for secretary of state, ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, not only has extensive business ties to Russia and a close personal relationship with Putin but would enjoy financial benefit from the relaxation of sanctions imposed on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
Others are also saying that Trump is simply unaware of the threat that Putin poses to the Western order that the US has spent so much blood and treasure building. He might not know that current Russian military doctrine identifies NATO, and by extension the US, as its chief adversary.
It seems that Putin is aware that Russia is not powerful enough to remake the world beyond its borders in its own image, but it is powerful enough to destabilize that world. Analysts say that in Putin’s view, what is bad for the West is good for Russia.
No longer intent on protecting liberal democracies
The election of Donald Trump raises the specter that, for the first time in 50 years, the most powerful country in the world may no longer be committed to spreading liberal democratic values or protecting liberal democracies abroad.
Another country which seems to be raising alarm bells over Trump’s decision to pivot towards Putin and Russia is China.
Trump has recently spoken on the phone with the Taiwanese leader, Tsai Ing-wen, and suggested that the US may abandon the “One China” policy which has held together the bilateral relations between Washington and Beijing since 1979.
US relations with Russia are expected to thaw after Trump assumes the presidency, but it may remain frosty with China, points out the Manila Times.
Already, there are signs that Beijing realizes the implications for itself if Sino-Russian relations improve rapidly.
The closeness of Sino-Russian relations today is to a large extent the result of economic sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union against Russia for its military intervention in Ukraine. This deprived Russia of Western investors and Western markets for its energy and drove it into China’s arms.