Trump is not the first president to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Former President George W. Bush entered the White House promising to end the Cold War. He had a 2001 summit with Putin in Slovenia and said Putin appeared to be trustworthy.
President Barack Obama tried to appease Putin by giving into Russian demands that we cancel our missile defense plan with Poland and the Czech Republic. Obama did cancel that plan. Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, gave the Russian foreign minister a red button with the word “reset” on it.
It is now Trump’s attempt to work with the Russians. Unlike Obama, Trump did not throw U.S. allies under the bus to appease Putin. Trump’s Russia policy has actually been a dramatic improvement over Obama. Trump expelled 60 Russian diplomats, approved a $47 million arms sale to Ukraine, continued NATO forces in Baltic states, posted troops to Poland’s border and leveled new sanctions against Moscow. Trump twice bombed Putin’s ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, for using chemical weapons. As always, Trump’s critics have overplayed their hands. A news conference is not an impeachable offense. Trump’s summit was not a disaster.