On his 77th day in office, President Donald Trump changed his Russia policy. He may not have realized it as he gave the order that sent Tomahawk cruise missiles toward a Syrian airbase, but his decision to directly strike Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime put him in direct conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to prop up the very same dictator. In the days that have followed, the administration has offered changing and even conflicting accounts of Russia’s complicity in Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. While Russia’s advanced knowledge of the chemical attack remains unclear, what is apparent now is that Trump appears willing to publicly criticize Russia, a departure from his previous position. But the White House is going to need something more than Trump’s tweet Thursday morning expressing hope that things between the United States and Russia will ultimately “work out fine.” The Trump administration desperately needs a strategy to deal with Russia.
Russia, specifically Putin, has been a thorn in the side of four successive U.S. presidents. As a consequence, many U.S. policymakers have found themselves tangling with Russian diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military leaders on a range of topics, often without much success. In an attempt to learn the lessons of years past, we’ve selected five tidbits of advice.
Read the full article at Foreign Policy.
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