President Donald Trump tweeted something. Let’s do this…
President Trump tweeted “I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts. Total Fake News!” In case this is hard to believe the link is located below. This is a classic Bannon-esque troll, but the reason it’s effective is that it’s technically true. But looking at that facts, it is clear he could do more.
I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts. Total Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2018
It is understandable to see people “LOLing” and all the laughing-crying-face-emoji reactions that litter social media at the president’s tweet but he has, in fact, been tougher on Russia than Obama. It’s the complete inverse of Obama who talked tough and did nothing. Trump, true to his form, is warm and pleasant on the surface towards Putin but recently humiliated him in Syria.
Could Trump be doing more? Absolutely. He could be imposing sanctions on Russia that passed in the United States Senate 98-0. He could stop denying that he benefited most from Russia openly targeting the U.S. election process. He could stop sending mixed messages that undermine his cabinet and the US global efforts in general. He could be clear to European allies that America stands ready to aid them in rebuffing much stronger efforts by the Russian government. He could be demanding scrapping the process in Geneva to end the civil war in Syria and insisting no one return to the table until other countries are ready to talk about actual solutions. There’s plenty he could be doing.
The most bizarre and frankly confusing thing about Trump and Russia is there are so many missed opportunities to stain Obama’s legacy and stick it to the media, which sometimes seems to be the only reason Trump ran for president. Of course, making Paul Manafort a campaign adviser surely stained Trump’s credibility and in time his own legacy. Americans should acknowledge the change in policy towards Moscow while at the same time demanding the bar be raised.
None of our problems in the world have changed, just our leadership. The options we had on January 19th, 2017 are the same options we have right now. The White House has drawn a firm line in Syria it should take out a red sharpie and draw a few more, but not on Twitter.