Researcher: Unlike Obama, Trump didn't do reset on Russia

Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama at the White House. Source: Reuters/Scanpix

U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing back on Russia in a way that President Barack Obama never did, and there has been no Obama-like reset on Russia, Daniel Vajdich, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said at the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn on Saturday.

"We haven't seen any macro-level negative consequences from his policies — no Obama-like reset on Russia," Vajdich said at a discussion on the foreign policy of the Trump administration, adding that the world is no closer to and no further from achieving peace in the Middle East than prior to the U.S.' decision concerning Jerusalem.

"There's been a lot of risk associated with Trump and his administration," he observed. "We can continue to look for ways to resist this reality, or embrace it."

According to Vajdich, the Trump administration is taking the national security dangers of Chinese intellectual property theft and unbalanced trade practices seriously.

Regarding sanctions on Russia and the prospect that the Trump administration may lift them, the senior fellow said that Congress played an incredibly important role early on "in preventing this administration from even thinking about it."

"The substance we now have is light-years ahead of Obama," Vajdich said. "I would take substance over style. He is pushing back on Russia in a way that Obama never did."

The U.S. is not treating Chinese any better than the Europeans, he noted, adding that not much has actually been done in the controversy over terms of international trade.

"Steel and aluminium is a tiny fraction of transatlantic trade," Vajdich said. "Leverage this to launch a broader trade discussion with the EU, which could lead to a mini-TTIP. We need to think of these moves as tactical at the moment."

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was a planned trade agreement between the EU and the U.S. that Trump cancelled in January.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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