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viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018

Vladimir Putin praises Trump, says U.S. is ‘eating itself up’

Russian President Vladimir Putin heaped praise on his American counterpart on Wednesday, but didn’t hold back when it came to criticizing the U.S. political system as a whole. 

Speaking to his country’s state-run media on Wednesday, Putin admitted that he had “no disappointment” in his relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump and talked about the “good impression” Trump left on him.  

But Putin also highlighted the American government’s inefficiency, saying that the U.S. is “eating itself up.”

What gives?

“I have no disappointment at all,” Putin said of Trump, according to a translation from the Associated Press. “Moreover, on a personal level he made a very good impression on me.”

When the pair first met in 2017, Putin also called Trump a “balanced” leader.

But the Russian president also had some not-so-kind words for the U.S. government on Wednesday, saying that it has “demonstrated its inefficiency and has been eating itself up.” According to the Washington Examiner:

Putin’s comments came on the same day that Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. told Politico that lawmakers on Capitol Hill have not been willing to meet with Russian diplomats, and they worry about being criticized while several investigations continue into Russia’s interference with the U.S. election in 2016.

“The Congress, overwhelmed by Russophobia, is led by politically biased emotions, rather than a clear-thinking mind,” Russian ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov added. “We are bluntly told they fear criticism.”

Keep your enemies closer

The Kremlin’s seemingly contradictory messages leave American Democrats, who have been fighting for months to prove that Trump or his associates had illegal contact with the Kremlin during his campaign or presidency, doubting that the kind words are merely an act of respect. Nevertheless, Putin’s words should be interpreted as such. 

The Russian president’s endorsement was a genuine statement of admiration for a president who — unlike his predecessor — has demonstrated strength, resolve, and determination in the face of boundless adversity.

These are qualities that Putin has been known to respect in both his allies and his adversaries. Putin was much less admiring of the spineless Barack Obama administration, which treated him with kid gloves and asked him to “cut it out” after he interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Causing problems

In fact, President Barack Obama’s administration all but created the impetuous and meddlesome Russian president we know today with an anemic foreign policy that spelled out consequences but failed to uphold them.

When the Russian-sponsored Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad used chemical weapons against his own people and crossed Obama’s famous “red line,” he was treated with a stern talking-to from the White House.

Assad paid for the same brazen use of force in a much more tangible way less than a year later when, under President Trump’s unforgiving watch, dozens of Tomahawk cruise missile leveled a Syrian air base.

Putin’s “good impression” of Trump was earned through consistency of action. When Russian aircraft bombed moderate Syrian rebel strained and equipped by Obama’s Department of Defense, the 44th U.S. president responded by capitulating to Putin’s demands to “de-conflict” their areas of responsibility in Syria.

However, when pro-regime soldiers back by Russian mercenaries sought to attack American allies in Syria last month, Trump’s military leaders were given the independence to respond with force, killing over 100 Russian mercenaries in the process.

The language of strength

Put simply, Putin respects strength over rhetoric. Political commentator Matt K. Lewis put it best in an article for The Telegraph:

At some level, high-stakes diplomacy is still a game of chicken – where machismo matters.

Russia’s strongarm chief executive only speaks one language: strength. So when he lionizes his American rival, it should be interpreted as the highest compliment — and a signal that American foreign policy is on the right track.

Every American president since the Cold War ended has started out their administration attempting to improve relations with Russia. Trump is no different in this regard.

Unlike his predecessors, however, Trump is attempting to start from a position of strength. So far, it seems to be having the desired effect.