March 3, 2017


Sen. Jeff Sessions backs Donald Trump on Russia policy (Mary Troyan, 8/15/16, USA Today)

"I think an argument can be made there is no reason for the U.S. and Russia to be at this loggerheads," Sessions said. "Somehow, someway, we ought to be able to break that logjam."

Other GOP leaders - and President Obama's administration -- say there are plenty of valid reasons for the loggerheads.

In addition to annexing Crimea in Ukraine, Russia sent military aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war; provided asylum to Edward Snowden, who is wanted on espionage charges; is widely believed to be responsible for the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers; and has sharply restricted freedoms for independent journalists. And the head of NATO has accused Russia and Assad of "weaponizing migration" in an effort to destabilize Europe.

Yet Trump - and Sessions - insist  a Trump presidency can and should de-escalate tensions between the two world powers.

It is a contrast from Sessions' 19-year Senate record of calling Russia an untrustworthy adversary to be dealt with via massive military strength, not negotiation.

In a Montgomery speech in March 2014, for example, he called for international scorn toward Russia for its aggressive actions in Ukraine and, before then, Georgia.

"I believe a systematic effort should be undertaken so that Russia feels pain for this," Sessions said then. "Because if you don't act now to make some sanctions against Russia then why will they believe in the future that we're going to impose sanctions or do anything aggressive if they move forward to take all of Ukraine, all of Georgia?"

Trump Takes on The Blob (SUSAN B. GLASSER March/April 2017, Politico)

Up in New York at the United Nations, new Ambassador Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, had asked a bunch of the career officials to stay on, and they had started giving her briefings on how to talk tough to the Russians about their takeover of Ukrainian territory and other matters, I was told. Then the minders from the Trump "beachhead team" at Foggy Bottom found out about it; no way, they said, overruling Haley: They're out.

Posted by at March 3, 2017 2:58 PM