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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 9th September 2016 > PUTIN’S USEFUL STOOGE

PUTIN’S USEFUL STOOGE

DONALD TRUMP WAS NEVER YUUUGE IN RUSSIA, BUT HE’S BECOME AN IMPORTANT TOOL FOR THE KREMLIN IN THE U.S.

NOT since before the beginning of the Cold War has a U.S. politician been as fervently pro-Russian as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Just four years after his predecessor Mitt Romney declared Russia to be Washington’s greatest geopolitical threat, Trump has praised President Vladimir Putin as a real leader, “unlike what we have in this country.” Trump has also dismissed reports that Putin has murdered political enemies (“Our country does plenty of killing also,” he told MSNBC), suggested that he would “look into” recognizing Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and questioned whether the United States should defend NATO allies who don’t pay their way. When Russian hackers stole a cache of emails in July from the Democratic National Committee’s servers, as security analysts have shown, Trump called on “Russia, if you’re listening,” to hack some more.

“Trump is breaking with Republican foreign doctrine and almost every Republican foreign thinker I know,” says Michael McFaul, U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. “He is departing radically from Ronald Reagan, something never done by any Republican Party presidential candidate.”

PUPPET MASTER: Putin has been relatively reserved in his praise of Trump, but Kremlin-sponsored propaganda outlets like Sputnik and RT have lavished praise on the Republican presidential candidate.
MIKHAIL SVETLOV/GETTY; MICHAEL STEWART/WIREIMAGE/GETTY; PREVIOUS SPREAD: JOHN MOORE/GETTY; MIKHAIL SVETLOV/GETTY

It’s easy to see why Putin views Trump’s ascendancy as a godsend—and why he mobilized his cyberspies and media assets to his aid, according to security analysts. “Trump advocates isolationist policies and an abdication of U.S. leadership in the world. He cares little about promoting democracy and human rights,” continues McFaul. “A U.S. retreat from global affairs fi ts precisely with Putin’s international interests.” Putin has been relatively reserved in his public support for Trump—calling him “colorful and talented,” which in Russian comes across as faint praise—but Kremlin-sponsored propaganda outlets like Sputnik and RT (formerly Russia Today) have praised Trump lavishly, tweeted #CrookedHillary memes and supported Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama “founded ISIS,” while Russia’s world-class army of state-sponsored hackers has targeted Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

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About Newsweek International

Not since before the beginning of the Cold War has a U.S. politician been as fervently pro-Russian as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Does Trump truly hold American ideals and is it finally pay-back for Putin?
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