President-elect Donald Trump granted a joint interview to the Times of London and Bild, a German publication, over the weekend, in which he laid out portions of his foreign policy strategy. Among the issues addressed were the sanctions placed on Russia as a result of its military annexation of Crimea, and how the incoming president views the international body NATO, which he has been critical of in the past.
Trump expressed a willingness to reconsider sanctions placed on the Russian state in exchange for a reduction in their nuclear arsenal.
“They have sanctions against Russia; let’s see if we can strike a few good deals with Russia. I think there should be less nuclear weapons and they have to be reduced significantly, that’s part of it. But there are these sanctions and Russia is suffering lots from it. But I think there are things…lots of people can profit from.”
Making these suggestions so soon after allegations were raised against the incoming president for having inappropriate ties to Putin’s regime demonstrates either an utter disregard for the views of those who have voiced concerns about where the president-elect’s loyalties lie, or a supreme confidence in the likelihood that such allegations will be proven false. During his campaign, many believed that Donald Trump could usher in a new level of international cooperation between American and Russian governments, but with recent concerns about the Kremlin maintaining compromising information on the incoming president for blackmail purposes, some may perceive the suggestion of removing sanctions as a bit too cooperative in the current political climate, regardless of the validity of the claims made against him.
The Kremlin responded to the suggestion via an official announcement on Monday morning, stating that “sanctions are not a question on our agenda, neither internally, nor in discussions with our international partners.”
The president-elect also reiterated his concerns about NATO that made headlines during the campaign. Last year, Donald Trump suggested that the United States may not support its NATO allies if the member nations fail to uphold their financial obligations to the organization. Although these sentiments were mirrored almost exactly by outgoing President Barack Obama in a speech he gave in Germany in April, many in the media and throughout the world saw Trump’s choice of words as an indication that American support for the organization may wane under the new president.