President-elect Donald Trump said yesterday that “only ‘stupid’ people or fools” would dismiss closer ties with Russia and suggested warmer relations between the two countries would help solve “some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the world,” a claim that local analysts agreed with.
“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said in a series of tweets, adding that “We have enough problems without yet another one,” and vowed that the Russian government would respect the United States “far more” under his administration.
“Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad” to have a good relationship, Trump said before suggesting his foreign policy approach might allow the adversaries to work together to solve “some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”
Boston University international political relations professor Bill Keylor agreed that a thawing of relations with Russia would present unique opportunities.
“Historically, ever since Nixon, American presidents have tried to improve relations with what was then the Soviet Union and then Russia, which is pretty important because both nations are in possession of weapons delivery systems that could pretty much bring about the end of the world,” Keylor said, adding, “The improving of relations between the two countries isn’t something that people should be opposed to or embarrassed about.”
And though indications from Trump that he’s willing to work hand-in-hand with Russia on the foreign stage are promising, Keylor cautioned that it would still be up to the United States to penalize Russia if it threatens to destabilize Europe or other parts of the world.
“When Russia engages in foreign policy decisions that are threatening to the stability of the world, particularly in Europe, the United States has a right, and I’d say a duty, to call them out on that,” he said. “And that’s a pretty important part of this.”
Keylor’s colleague at Boston University, Joseph Wippl, agreed, calling Trump’s goal if improving relations with Russia “very reasonable.”
“I can’t disagree with him,” Wippl said of Trump’s assertion that a better relationship with Russia is a good thing.
“In the last decade there are some areas where we’ve worked together with Russia, such as in counterterrorism and negotiations with Iran — but there have been some other areas where we’ve been at loggerheads, like Syria and Ukraine,” Wippl said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what this administration does.”
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