Obama has made Putin a true powerhouse on the world stage. He is actually trying to do something where Obama has down nothing but bow.
We need a leader who will stand up to Putin and help get the world back in order.
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Americans have to wait until November to find out who their next president will be, but in a sense, the winner of the 2016 election is already clear: it’s Vladimir Putin.
As the race begins, we find ourselves in the midst of a global crisis. Iran is testing long-range, precision-guided ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear bomb, arguably in violation of U.N. agreements, and the terms of the Obama administration’s much-trumpeted nuclear deal. North Korea is testing, or claims to be testing, hydrogen bombs; for years, the U.S. has essentially ignored Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
And after executing a prominent Shiite cleric, Saudi Arabia has cut off diplomatic relations with Iran after a mob set ablaze the Saudi embassy in Tehran. The tensions between these Middle East rivals bode poorly for American relations with each country as well as for regional stability (such as it is).
In short, this is hardly the time for America to disengage from the world. But to listen to the leading presidential candidates in both parties, disengagement seems to be where the momentum is. And that’s where Putin comes in—because while disengagement will cost the United States dearly, it’s a windfall for the Russian president.
On the Republican side, it’s no surprise that Putin has boosted Donald Trump as “a very bright and talented man and the absolute leader in the presidential race.” In Trump, Putin sees the candidate most like him: driven by ego and deal-making over long-term thinking. Putin also knew that Trump would welcome his “endorsement” and defend him.
And Trump did.
When asked about allegations that Putin has had journalists murdered, Trump coolly replied, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.” In his 60 Minutesinterview last fall, Trump boasted that he and Putin would “get along very well” and that if “[Putin] wants to be bombing ISIS, let him bomb them”—another indication of a hands-off American approach in the region. Trump believes he and Putin can cooperate: “I believe – and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path. But I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with,” he said at the CNN debate in September.
Trump’s closest rival is Texas senator Ted Cruz, who has been a strident Putin critic. Cruz has promised that as president, he wouldn’t allow Putin “to move unimpeded into the [Middle East] to advance an agenda that is contrary to our own,” has called for a reassertion of American exceptionalism, and says that America should “emulate the decisive actions that empowered Ronald Reagan to win the Cold War without firing a shot.”