Trump: Russia’s Very Own Trojan Horse

March 23, 2017

Photo by Global Panorama (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo by Global Panorama (CC BY-SA 2.0)

We now know that the Russian government had a major influence on the outcome of the last presidential elections. Investigations have shown that Putin is relentless in his pursuit of dominating global politics and undermining the U.S. If evidence shows that the president colluded with Russia, a serious threat looms over our sovereignty and standing in the world.

Smeared Campaign

In a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Comey confirmed the agency’s current investigations into the alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. He also debunked Trump’s baseless claim of being wiretapped by the previous administration.

Several of Trump’s associates have been linked to Russian interference in the elections. Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, received more than $10 million from a Russian oligarch to advance Putin’s agenda. Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser after failing to disclose his Russian connections. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any Russia investigation after lying under oath about his own contact with Russian officials during the campaign.

However, one key question continues to linger: How does Russia’s influence in the executive branch translate to American foreign policy?

Putin’s Plans to Make Russia Great Again

Recent Russian foreign policy in Ukraine and Syria are evidence of Russia’s efforts to expand its sphere of influence over Eastern Europe and the Middle East. While strategic geographic access has played a role in Russia’s involvement in the two countries, it would be naïve to think that Putin’s support for pro-Russian leaders like Assad is independent of global political interests.

The Assad regime’s close relationship with Russia dates back four decades, when Hafez al-Assad aligned himself with the Eastern bloc. His son, Bashar al-Assad, has turned Russia into Syria’s primary supplier of weapons. With Putin’s UN Security Council maneuverings, Assad has enjoyed full impunity for carrying out war crimes, including a chemical attack that wiped out more than 1,400 lives.

For Russia, Syria is a means to retaining a stronghold in the Middle East and reestablishing a dominating influence. The U.S. is the only power that can counter the Russian support for Assad and establish a durable process for revolution. It is also the primary obstacle in the way of Russia’s ambitions for becoming a superpower.

The Trojan Horse

Trump has chipped away at America’s image as a global leader. As Comey’s testimony has shown, the current administration has questionable credibility and legitimacy. Trump’s travel ban and isolationist policies are damaging our reputation abroad. The growing disfavor for Trump’s America works well for the advancement of Russian geopolitical interests.

The Russian government’s hand in Trump’s presidential victory was a calculated move to delegitimize American presence in the international arena. If the FBI finds evidence linking Trump to the Russian government directly, then Trump is a Trojan horse. And we should be very wary of his policies.

Congress Must Keep the POTUS in Check

Senator Todd Young (R-IN) recently introduced S.J. Res. 31, which would authorize the use of military forces (AUMF) against ISIS. With its vague language, S.J. Res. 31 will allow the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force” against the stated organizations, their “successor organizations” and “associated forces.” Passing a new broad and ambiguous AUMF could lead to the deployment of U.S. troops in Syria that support the Assad regime in the name of fighting ISIS. This would serve Russian, not U.S., interests. Congress must hold the President accountable by drafting legislation that limits the power of the executive to entangle the country in another war.

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