U.S. Policy on Russia? Trump and His Team Might Give Different Answers

“The big problem with Trump’s policy is that it doesn’t add up,” said Stephen Sestanovich, who served as ambassador to former Soviet republics in the 1990s. “If you have a policy that doesn’t add up, you won’t win support for it. And if nobody supports it, how tough can it really be?”

When it comes to Ukraine, Mr. Trump’s administration has gone further than Mr. Obama’s in some respects. Most prominently, it provided more than 200 Javelin anti-tank missiles plus three dozen launchers last year.

The Javelins, however, have been stored at a base in western Ukraine far from the front lines. The administration has insisted that they were meant as defensive weapons and could be deployed rapidly in case of a new Russian incursion.

The recent naval confrontation in the Kerch Strait has tested Mr. Trump. Nearly two months later, Russia has refused to release the ships or sailors. Mr. Trump canceled a meeting in Buenos Aires with Mr. Putin, then pulled him aside at a summit leaders’ dinner and told him the standoff needed to be solved, aides said.

Administration officials have developed possible responses, including enacting new sanctions, increasing NATO naval presence in the Black Sea, sending allied ships to make calls at Ukrainian ports, deploying NATO or European Union monitors into uncontested Ukrainian territory to serve as a deterrent, and stationing unarmed observers on Ukrainian ships as they transit the Kerch Strait.

So far, Mr. Trump has approved none of these, stymied in part by the Europeans, who have not agreed to a coordinated response. But administration officials said responses were still under consideration. And the American destroyer Donald Cook entered the Black Sea this weekend to make a point to Moscow.

In the meantime, analysts said, American policy remains bifurcated by the disparity of Mr. Trump’s statements and his administration’s actions. “I just see this dichotomy there,” Mr. Pifer said. “I don’t know how it gets resolved.”

Source link

more recommended stories

  • On Politics: Complete Coverage of the Mueller Report

    • Here are four dramatic passages.

  • Democrats Draw Closer to a Dicey Question: Whether to Impeach Trump

    WASHINGTON — House Democrats, facing some.

  • Right, Left and Center React to the Mueller Report

    Now that it is over, he.

  • Highlights: Barr Defends Trump Before Releasing Mueller Report – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Watch Live: Barr Speaks Before Mueller Report Is Made Public – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Democrats Are United on Climate Change, but Not on What to Do About It

    For Democrats vying to unseat President.

  • On Politics: Mueller Report to Be Released Today

    Good Thursday morning. Here are some.

  • Terry McAuliffe Will Not Run for President

    WASHINGTON — Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

  • E.P.A. Moves to ‘Close the Door’ on Asbestos. Consumer Groups Say Loopholes Remain.

    Want climate news in your inbox?.

  • On ‘Made in America,’ Trump’s F.T.C. Appointees May Be Out of Step With Him

    Two more companies, Sandpiper and PiperGear,.

  • In New Effort to Deter Migrants, Barr Withholds Bail to Asylum Seekers

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on.

  • Julián Castro Needs a Defining Moment. Has It Already Passed?

    Because Mr. Castro never ran for.

  • On Politics: Trump’s United Base of America

    While other presidents sought to broaden.

  • Court Rejects 2 Years of Judge’s Decisions in Cole Tribunal

    This article was produced in partnership.

  • How to Cover 2020: Assume Nothing and Beware of Twitter

    CHICAGO — Journalists have no idea.

  • For Democrats, Ilhan Omar Is a Complicated Figure to Defend

    WASHINGTON — When President Trump tweeted.

  • Gina Haspel Relies on Spy Skills to Connect With Trump. He Doesn’t Always Listen.

    WASHINGTON — Gina Haspel was trying.

  • Mick Mulvaney’s Master Class in Destroying the Government From Within

    The new agency had the feel.

  • On Politics: Trump’s Trade Style Could Cost U.S.

    • Oil purchases by China and.

  • The Rematch: Bernie Sanders vs. a Clinton Loyalist

    The blowup reflects ideological divisions among.

  • Trump Says He Will Give Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom

    A day after Tiger Woods won.

  • Pete Buttigieg’s Campaign Kickoff: Full Speech, Annotated

    Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South.

  • What’s a Feminist Government? Canada, and Trudeau, Grapple With the Question

    “I know some women who are.

  • Want to Escape Global Warming? These Cities Promise Cool Relief

    “We’re not seeing worse heat waves.

  • On Politics: Mayor Pete, the College Years

    • What drove Mr. Trump’s recent.

  • Trump’s 2020 Campaign Raises Over $30 Million in First Quarter

    President Trump raised more than $30.

  • Face It: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut

    Studies consistently find that the 2017.

  • Mitch McConnell, Never a Grandstander, Learns to Play by Trump’s Rules

    WASHINGTON — President Trump was walking.

  • How Kamala Harris’s Income Compares to Those of Other Candidates

    Senator Kamala Harris of California disclosed.

  • Pete Buttigieg’s Focus: Storytelling First. Policy Details Later.

    Mr. Buttigieg has stirred suspicion among.

  • Julian Assange: Friend and Foe to Left and Right

    Over the years, the WikiLeaks founder.

  • Mnuchin Says China Trade Talks Are Nearing Final Round

    WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.