A Russian spy ship was spotted Tuesday sailing just off the U.S. east coast. Also on Tuesday, the administration confirmed that Russia had deployed ground-based cruise missiles in violation of a 1987 treaty. Last Friday, four Russian jets buzzed an American ship in the Black Sea.
Such provocations sound like Vladimir Putin is testing our new president, who created the impression when Iran was doing this sort of thing that he would not tolerate it. Putin tested Obama like this all the time, drawing conclusions about his weakness.
It will be interesting to see what President Trump does.
It has been alleged that the Russians helped Trump get elected. Trump has floated the idea of eliminating the sanctions against Russia for invading the Ukraine and annexing the Crimea. But Trump’s new secretary of state and secretary of defense have talked tough about keeping the sanctions. And being overly cozy with the Russian ambassador is what got national security advisor Michael Flynn fired.
Why do you think Putin would throw his weight around like this?
If Trump ignores these incidents, he might look weak, or even in thrall to Putin. If Trump reacts, he needs to be measured and must not over-react, qualities that have not been his strong suit.
At any rate, this may be President Trump’s first foreign relations test.