…Certainly, Trump’s talk on Putin has been at times sycophantic, something this author will not discount. However, referring to someone as a “genius” can carry with it, alternative meanings.
For instance, when it comes to people like David Axelrod or Rahm Emanuel, I can admire their genius within politics and hold them in utter contempt because of how they choose to use their gifts. Adolf Hitler was a genius as an orator, but a genocidal sociopath. I do not presume to understand Trump’s motivations in his less-than-polished statements about the Russian leader; however, I simply state that Trump can believe Putin is a genius and a sociopath. While I can think Trump is a genius in manipulating the media (and trust me… he is), I can disagree with him on things like increasing deficit spending and his lowest-common-denominator rhetoric.
When it came to Putin though, the left and the media (but I repeat myself) did their damnedest to tie Trump to Putin and Russia, despite the total lack of evidence of such a connection. Whether it was Russia-gate, in which Trump and his officials were never charged, or lofty stories of Trump and his behavior with Russian prostitutes, or even flat out fabrications, like was spun regarding Russian bounties on American servicemen in Syria, the media went to all lengths to make Trump appear weak against Putin and the Russians.
Yet one stark reality cannot be ignored: Putin took no action against any of his neighbors during the Trump Administration.
Regardless of Trump’s statements (which I often took issue with), the result of his foreign policy led to the lack of the entry of the US in any additional foreign conflicts for the first time in decades. That includes saber-rattling with any foreign powers.
Meanwhile, when you look at Trump’s predecessor, the same cannot be said.
Beginning immediately in 2009, Obama faced Russian games in Crimea in Ukraine. Russia, which had been exerting influence in the region towards the end of 2008 (after Obama’s election but before he took office) thrust the new leader (Obama) into a place many felt he was unprepared to be. Obama sat idly by and watched as Putin and the Russians pushed the area to the brink of war.
In the months leading up to the conflict, the Russians had been issuing Russian passports to residents of other countries, an act which granted those people the rights of other Russian citizens, including the protection of the Russian military, should they need it. Protests, largely organized and funded by Russia, began popping up in Crimea, sending the region into chaos. Of course, this was the goal of the Russians, so they could use this conflict as a reason to enter Ukraine to reestablish peace on behalf of the (new) Russian citizens living in that region.
Obama did nothing….