The US election and Moscow’s preference


April 24, 2016 by AK

There are a number of reasons why Moscow may sincerely want Trump to be elected president.

  1. Trump is more of an isolationist and less of an interventionist than Hillary Clinton.
  2. Trump has no foreign policy experience and no experience holding public office, in contrast to Secretary Clinton.
  3. The Kremlin feels more at ease with business people than career politicians.
  4. Moscow prefers Republicans to Democrats in general. To Moscow players, Republicans come across as honest enemies who understand the language of power.

Every point can be countered, of course. For one, Hillary Clinton may turn dovish if the Benghazi fiasco keeps dogging her. She could even find herself blackmailed if her email server was accessed by agents of unfriendly countries. But these are merely unlikely possibilities.

More important is the place of foreign policy on Trump’s agenda: hardly at the core, in contrast to immigration, free trade, and possibly health care. His voters mistrust foreign entanglements but do not wish America to be humiliated by foreign despots. Trump’s isolationism is tentative.

His success in moving the Overton window to make radical anti-immigrationism and anti-globalism a permissible, even mainstream stance, will probably encourage and empower the European “far right.” That would please the Kremlin very much if it rifts the EU – but Trump alone can neither sink nor save that union.


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