Make America (and Russia) Great Again!

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Donald Trump has made it clear he wants his administration to establish better communication and a “good relationship” between the United States and Russia. In theory, improved U.S.-Russia relations would be beneficial to the United States.

Russia remains an important, influential geopolitical actor. The bilateral relationship between the United States and Russia remains critical while internationally the United States needs Russia’s economic and diplomatic power in order to influence foreign states on international treaties and other matters.

The key to this improved relationship is to benefit the U.S. while checking increasing Russian influence abroad.

This, however, does not appear to be the plan for the Trump administration.

President Trump apparently will not stick to the long-standing U.S. position of insisting on a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. Additionally, he also supports moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move would effectively enforce Israel’s claim to the holy city and potentially increase conflict and contention between Israel and Palestine.

It is now unclear if President Trump will stick to his repeated campaign promises to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. If completed, this move would negate any progress previously made in U.S.-Iran relations. Especially as the President has already taken to making veiled threats against the Iranian regime.

In other words, the Trump administration’s foreign policy has the potential to create tremendous strain on U.S. relations with Palestine and Iran. You know who has good relations with Palestine and Iran? Russia. Further retreat by the U.S. from Palestine and Iran opens the door for greater Russian influence in those areas. This is a move Russia has shown to be more than willing to make in the past.

Russia’s power politics have been previously praised by now-President Trump. Perhaps he is now simply taking the next step in his encouragement: U.S.-assisted increase of the Russian sphere of influence.

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