This is a truth that is in direct opposition of his boss’ stated stance.
Speaking with lawmakers in Washington late Monday, Defense Secretary James Mattis made it very clear that we have no friends in Moscow.
Responding to a question from Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who asked about Russia’s intentions towards America:
“At this time … I do not see any indication that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] would want a positive relationship with us,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee.
“That’s not to say we can’t get there as we look for common ground. But at this point, he has chosen to be a strategic competitor with us and we’ll have to deal with that as we see it,” he added.
Yes, you can find common ground with most anyone, but be smart about it.
If they’re actively working against your best interests, they ain’t friends.
There’s also a concern when a nation with hostile intent begins making moves both inside our government (as they did by attempting to influence the outcome of the 2016 election), and around our physical borders.
Moscow has in recent months increased the number of fighter jet and long-range bomber aircraft flights in the international airspace near Alaska, and last week a Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. B-52 bomber flying near the country’s border over the international waters of the Baltic Sea.
The Kremlin also backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has demanded the United States not attack forces that support Assad as a U.S.-led coalition attempts to oust the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters. Russia even established four de-escalation zones in Syria and has asserted the coalition stay out of it.
The whole world can look at the U.S. now and see that the great experiment of democracy seems to be buckling under the weight of our own failed humanity. We can’t even pull it together when we’re attacked, anymore, in order to cobble together an adequate, unified response.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford was also with Secretary Mattis, and described the relationship with Russia as “adversarial.”
Lawmakers are attempting to work a bill into the defense policy budget that will take a more firm stance on Russian aggression.
The Senate reached an agreement on Monday night that would put a measure of control over sanctions against Russia in the hands of Congress. President Trump would have to run any lifting of sanctions on Russia through Congress, first.
It’s the right move. Trump has continually sought to curry favor from Putin, and that does not come without a price.