Putin & Trump: The Lukewarm War

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Aug 22, 6:21 PM |

By Sam Aman

Writing in El País, Altamar co-host Muni Jensen takes a look at the deterioration of US-Russia relations—an old, familiar issue—in today’s context:

The erratic relationship between the US and Russia, steered by their narcissistic leaders, once again takes center stage in global politics. On one side, Russia, the world’s largest country, faces various crises. Its economy is reeling from low oil prices, inflation, and capital flight, on top of the consequences of US sanctions imposed in 2014 after the invasion of Crimea. The steady popularity of Vladimir Putin is starting to erode, though he continues to enchant the majority of Russians with populist shows of might, flexing his muscles in the international arena as much as he does in his shirtless vacation photos. His power isn’t collapsing entirely.

In Trump’s US, Russia dominates the agenda. Suspicions of Russian election meddling—and the frenetic investigation being carried out by the FBI, the Senate, and the Department of Justice—have politically inflated a historical enemy. The alleged collusion between Putin and Trump monopolizes headlines and worries both Americans and the rest of the world. In a recent poll by Pew Research Center, citizens of 22 out of 36 polled countries claimed to have more trust in Russia’s quasi-dictator than in Trump with regard to international issues. (A frightening statistic when one considers Putin’s appetite for foreign invasions, alliances with dictators, and interference in democratic processes.) Like a talented poker player, Putin takes advantage of the situation to fortify his own image as a strongman, and Russia’s image as a global threat.

Read the full article in El País in Spanish.

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About the Hosts

Peter Schechter works in both politics and policy. He served as the Atlantic Council’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives and previously co-founded a premier strategic communications company, working as a political campaign advisor in more than 20 countries.  Muni Jensen is a former Colombian diplomat, columnist, and television political commentator.