Trump Foreign Policy Creates an Awkward Union between Vladimir Putin and Europe

By Gehrke, Joel | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, October 13, 2017 | Go to article overview

Trump Foreign Policy Creates an Awkward Union between Vladimir Putin and Europe


Gehrke, Joel, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


President Trump's attitudes toward Iran and Israel are putting Russian President Vladimir Putin in the unusual position of echoing European argument against American foreign policy.

Trump's effort to adopt a posture more aggressive toward Iran and favorable toward Israel puts him out of step with Russia and leading European powers. His expected decision to declare the Iran nuclear deal inconsistent with U.S. national security interests is the most notable example of that shift, which Russia opposes. And that places Putin, who is reviled in Western foreign policy circles for his invasion of Ukraine and desire for "a post-West world order," in the role of the world's leading non-European internationalist, for this week at least.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Trump administration to "adhere to the plan" in a Thursday evening call with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, just as British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson did Tuesday.

"Given the status of this agreement, including the decision to approve it by the supreme body responsible for security measures in the modern world, it is difficult for me to imagine how it is possible to legally withdraw from an agreement that is a product of collective work recognized by everyone as a binding international legal act," Lavrov told reporters Thursday.

That's not the only disagreement of the week. Lavrov's team joined the United Nations in faulting the United States for deciding to withdraw from UNESCO, a cultural agency that the Trump administration believes is marred by persistent bias against Israel.

"This decision by the United States evokes regret," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday. "A country that was one of the founders of UNESCO is quitting it at a time that is difficult for this organization and is thereby aggravating its position ... and wrecking the implementation of many major projects."

That rebuke echoed the UNESCO director-general's response to the move, as well as the German government's belief that the withdrawal sends the "completely wrong signal at this point," per Culture Minister Monika Grutters.

But the Iran deal is the chief issue of the week. …

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