Altamar cohost Peter Schechter has published a new commentary in Forbes discussing the current obsession with the Robert Mueller investigation, and how the current trend toward conspiracy thinking and strategic communications is a very poor lens through which to craft a successful Russia policy. Excerpt below:
The recent reports alleging that Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn had promised to “rip up” sanctions against Russia as a form of quid pro quo to Moscow raise very serious questions which cannot simply be dismissed as “fake news.”
However, despite the very real concerns regarding this attack on American democracy, the developing investigation has also obscured the key policy dilemma of how we manage relations with Russia during a very challenging (and very dangerous) geopolitical moment.
It begins with recognizing some basic facts. In many ways, Moscow is at war with us. It is not a traditional military battle, but rather a limited, political war relying mostly on intelligence and subversion. But, because of the allegations of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, we now have a president who has been politically boxed in, unable to take action. He is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.
Doing nothing should not be an option. This is the moment to summon a Reaganesque principled stance toward Russia – a trust-but-verify approach where we must operate on two separate tracks of containment and engagement.