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Trump Stood Up to Putin on Arms Control. Joe Biden (and Hillary) Won’t.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

The Trump administration recently rejected President Vladimir Putin’s proposals to prolong the bilateral strategic arms treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation known as the New START. If signed, the agreement would have been another foreign policy achievement for President Trump, in addition to the three Middle Eastern recognition accords between Israel and the Arab countries, and the Serbia-Kosovo agreement. 


Yet, the existing agreement would allow China to build nuclear weapons without limitations, so Trump had chosen a tough negotiating line toward Russian President Putin. He never went to Moscow during his presidential term, and remained a relentless negotiator who puts U.S. interests first. Trump exited the Open Skies Treaty and Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, both legacies of a bygone era. On Trump’s watch the administration imposed an unprecedented number of sanctions on Russia – much more than the Obama-Biden White House.

Yet, when American interests were at stake, like in stabilizing the oil markets last spring, Trump and Putin found a common ground and successfully stopped the catastrophic fall of the oil prices together with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, an important U.S. strategic counterpart.

This is especially striking when we compare his behavior towards the Kremlin with the anemic Russia policy of the Democrats. Under President Obama, the U.S. concluded the START-3 treaty, with Obama calling in the famous Prague speech for a nuclear disarmament. Obama was caught on a hot mic promising then-President Medvedev more “flexibility” after the U.S. 2012 elections. Yet, it did not occur to the Republicans to call it “collusion” -- and call for Obama’s impeachment. 

It gets worse. In 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invented the "reset" with Putin – right after the Russians invaded the Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus, and occupied and then detached over 25 percent of it’s territory: the self-proclaimed separatist statelets of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 


Instead of “reset”, the little yellow box with a red button Hillary embarrassingly gave the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said “overload” in Russian. That typo in the title was a bad omen indeed. 

Clinton, when visiting Moscow, spent a long time waiting for Putin who deliberately humiliated her by being late for the meeting. Instead of leaving, she would just smile and pose while in the company of the Russian strongman. Moreover, the Clinton Foundation has benefited from donations from a Canadian company angling to facilitate a sale of American uranium mines to the Russian state-owned nuclear monopoly Rosatom.  

On a trip to Russia her husband, the former President Bill Clinton, was photographed in the company of the notorious Evgeny Prigozhin, a convicted criminal known as “Putin’s cook”. No regular cook, Prigozhin is under U.S. sanctions for running the notorious St. Petersburg bot farm, the Internet Research Agency. His shenanigans include sending hundreds of Russian mercenaries to fight in Syria in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime through his Wagner Private Security Company; military operations in Libya against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, and black ops in Africa. 

Before the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned in Siberia, Prigozhin launched a lawsuit against him. The near-death of the outspoken Russian politician did not stop Prigozhin from prosecuting the case that allowed him to seize Navalny’s Moscow apartment and bank accounts.


If Joe Biden wins on November 3, Hillary would have a powerful influence in the Biden-Harris administration. She is a known arms control supporter.  As the co-chair of the Clinton Foundation, the former Democratic presidential candidate, and the former Secretary of State, her influence will be far-reaching. 

In the October 7 interview Putin himself mentioned that Biden is a supporter of the New START nuclear treaty. So is Hillary – despite the fact that the U.S. would limit its arsenal while China, North Korea, and eventually Iran are building theirs. 

And recently over 100 prominent American diplomats and scholars who advocate for the improvement of the U.S.-Russian relations – the new “reset” – published an open letter to advise the next president. Most of the signatories were Democrats.

This is not surprising, as the current confession of President Putin regarding his sympathies towards the Democrats was not accidental. He mentioned his own 18-year membership in the communist party, waxed nostalgic about communist and social-democrat ideas, and called them the basis for cooperation with the Democrats after the elections. He also said that Hunter Biden did nothing criminal. How does he know? 

Putin noted the Communist International (Comintern) support of African-Americans in the 1930s, and the USSR support of Angela Davis in the days of his youth. Today, Davis is a BLM leader and a former Vice Presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA. 


It is not surprising, therefore, that Putin’s Russia, as the USSR before it, will continue shifting left and right to protect its interests and use whichever elements of the American political spectrum necessary to achieve its goals. Yet, it is Trump’s policies of America First that will protect U.S. interests, while the Obama-Biden’s arms control fetish, and the Clintons’ greed, will lead us astray.


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