Trump’s wrong about Putin: We need to keep Russia out of the G-8

by Tom Rogan

Did Vladimir Putin outsmart President Barack Obama?

Yes, in Ukraine, in Syria, with his election interference, and with his fraying of U.S. order in the Middle East.

But did Obama push Russia out of the G-8 international forum because he was upset at being outsmarted? No.

Instead, Obama rightly pushed Russia out of the G-8 (turning the forum into the G-7) because of Putin’s seizure of Crimea. Supporting Russia’s restoration to the forum, Trump is matching the worst of Obama’s foolishness vis-a-vis Russia.

After Trump on Tuesday suggested that Obama excluded Putin from the G-8 because he was upset at being “outsmarted” by the Russian president, Trump added “I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russian in, it should be the G-8.”

Both suggestions are delusional.

Again, the Russians were chucked out of the G-8 because they decided to steal European territory. That overt breach of international norms, norms so carefully maintained since the end of the Second World War, required a robust international response. While Putin should have been punished more severely, the G-8 exclusion was warranted and necessary. On this point at least, Obama made the right call.

To now restore Russia to the G-8 would be weak and idiotic. Just look at a map: Russia continues to occupy Crimea and areas of south-eastern Ukraine.

It amazes me that Trump goes on these random tangents sometimes. The president’s policy toward Russia is generally excellent. That includes U.S. policy in Ukraine. Trump’s national security team is also far better than its predecessors in dealing with Putin and his cronies. But for some inexplicable reason, Trump’s rhetoric regards the Russian leader as a friend who wants greater friendship rather than what Putin is: an enemy.

Trump should pay more attention in his intelligence briefings.

(c) The Washington Examiner


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