Under the Obama administration, the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq was complicated by the fact that the United States was working not only against the terrorists but also against Russia. Under the Trump administration, it appears, that will change dramatically.
According to the U.K. Mirror, the Kremlin announced that President-elect Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin have promised during a Monday phone call to tackle the Islamic State group threat together.
Putin made the call to the president-elect to begin negotiations on how to handle the threat of terrorism in the Middle East. Putin is said to be ready to discuss the issue with the Trump administration “on the basis of mutual respect, non-intervention into each other’s internal affairs.”
A Russian news agency said that their leader and the future American president agreed on a plan to “work to channel bilateral relationships into constructive cooperation, to combine efforts to tackle international terrorism and extremism, and to continue contact by telephone and to work towards meeting in person.”
“The importance of creating a solid basis for bilateral ties was underscored, in particularly by developing the trade-economic component,” the Kremlin said via a statement.
Both the United States and Russia should “return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation, which would address the interests of both countries as well as stability and safety the world over,” the statement added.
After eight years of the Obama administration, wherein the president chose to rebuke the Russians on all the wrong things (fighting the Islamic State group in Syria) and decided not to pursue action when Russia far overstepped its bounds (Crimea, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17), this is welcome news.
While Russia is a difficult friend to have, the threat of cooperating with Putin on anything has been far overblown, especially by Democrats still smarting over the WikiLeaks emails. This is especially true when it comes to fighting terrorism, something the Russians have been a lot more willing to do than we have been.
In addition, Putin might realize that Trump is a significantly stronger president than Obama was, especially when it comes to interventionism. Could a better relationship of Russia come out of strength? That’s what the president-elect has been saying all along. Now he has a chance to prove himself right.
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