Last week witnessed another information battle in the US media as Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” during an interview with US President Donald Trump, but Trump said in response that “there are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?” reminding the interviewer about the US invasion of Iraq. This statement provoked a burning debate in the US with some hawks accusing Trump of betrayal of his voters and describing his words as “anti-American”. The American belief in the US infallibility is well-known but this time the whole situation seems like another attempt to attack Trump and once again to try to play the card about his alleged ties with Moscow. The basic idea of criticism of Trump’s statement was that it is unacceptable to equate America to Russia’s “authoritarian regime”. Moreover, some Trump’s opponents tried to persuade the public that killings made by US officials are just “innocent mistakes” while Putin is “a bloody dictator”. The argument resembles a well-known, now almost aphoristic statement about Nicaragua’s President Anastacia Samoza since some American officials and journalists managed to separate “our killings”, which are at least justifiable, according to them, from other killings.
However, the situation should not be limited to a discussion of possible “moral equivalence” between America and Russia. The US mainstream media highly discredited itself during this US presidential campaign as many outlets had been caught publishing fake news and practicing witch-hunting. Now the media continues to reach new lows closing eyes to journalism standards since a host of a famous TV-channel can announce absolutely unsubstantiated and evidence-free accusations against a leader of another country and instead of offering an apology make further sarcastic statements. Some analysts even supposed that it could be an intended information attack against Vladimir Putin because given his long record in journalism Bill O’Reilly clearly understood the consequences of his provocative claims. The Kremlin, which called the statement “unacceptable and insulting” rationally decided not to make a big deal of the case pointing at a “different understanding of good manners and etiquette” than that of the Fox News correspondent.
Meanwhile, arms control could become one of the key questions in the relations between Putin and Trump. During his first official call with the Russian President the US leader reportedly called New START treaty, which limits nuclear weapons deployment, a bad deal for the US when Putin raised a question of extending it beyond 2021. American analysts and some officials already expressed their concern about Trump’s stance as New START is considered to be a key element of nuclear arms control and mostly viewed as mutually beneficial. Given Trump’s controversial statements on the topic in the past the situation, according to Russian experts, could unnerve the Kremlin and is likely to be on the agenda during the first meeting between the two leaders. The meeting can be held in Slovenia (native country of Melania Trump and the place of the first meeting between Vladimir Putin and former US President George W. Bush in 2001), which last week the Russian President characterized as an “excellent” venue for possible talks.
By Michael McFaul
The Washington Post
For reasons still mysterious to me, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to praise and defend Russian President Vladimir Putin.
By Nicole Gaouette
The Kremlin is casting a shadow over Donald Trump’s White House. Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin was once again in the headlines as the President drew sharp criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike by equating Putin’s government with the US’s.
By Robert Parry
President Trump says much that is untrue, but he draws some of Official Washington’s greatest opprobrium when he speaks the truth, such as noting that senior U.S. officials have done a lot of killing.
By Robby Mook
Vladimir Putin wants to extend his influence beyond the ballot box and into the very fabric of our public life. We must take action before it’s too late.
By Daniel McCarthy
The National Interest
A comparison is not the same thing as an equivalence.
By Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima
The Washington Post
National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.
Can he succeed, or will he be the third American president in a row to be outfoxed by Mr Putin?
By Jonathan Landay and David Rohde
In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.
By Andrew Hanna
The move will be a major test of the new administration’s policy toward Moscow, which considers any further eastward expansion of the Western military alliance a provocation.
By Michael Cecire
“War is the continuation of politics by other means,” observed the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz in his classic treatise On War. Although the aphorism has become axiomatic almost to the point of cliché, it is an especially apt prism for understanding Russia’s increasingly adventurous foreign policy.
By Amb. Marc Ginsberg
The Huffington Post
Weakening Russia’s alliance with Iran would constitute an early, major diplomatic achievement for the Trump team.
By Owen Matthews , Jack Moore , Damien Sharkov
After three decades on the sidelines, Russia is once again a major player in the region.
By Hal Brands, Colin Kahl
Cutting a bargain with Moscow to cooperate in the fight against the Islamic State would be a disaster for U.S. security and influence.
By Stephen F. Cohen
Even if Trump and Putin adopt a wise joint policy toward Ukraine, neither leader has much political capital to spare at home.
The guarded nature of Russian organs of state means that the story playing out in the public eye is indicative of more dangerous struggles taking place deep inside the Kremlin.
By Alexander Reshetnikov and Maria Tsvetkova
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused the Kremlin of trying to block him from running in next year’s presidential election after a court on Wednesday found him guilty of embezzlement.
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