From virtually the moment the election was called in his favor, President-elect Donald Trump started facing intense pressure from international officials, as well as the outgoing administration, to keep the US hostile toward Russia, and to back away from his calls for normalization.
That’s continued apace, but now with the inauguration looming Trump is also facing a growing number of his own incoming administration officials echoing those calls, with incoming Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley insisting Russia just can’t be trusted under any circumstances.
Vice President Mike Pence also declared that the “historic mission of NATO,” which appears to just be hostility toward Russia, will remain intact in the Trump Administration, saying there is no question Russia “views us as a rival” and that the accused election hacking proves Russia doesn’t respect the US.
Trump’s own comments have painted NATO as a largely obsolete alliance, saying he thinks getting along with Russia wouldn’t be a bad thing. This, in and of itself, has scared several NATO member nations that see the status quo as threatened by Trump.
President Obama is also increasingly publicly speaking against Trump over plans for diplomacy with Russia, warning Trump against tying US sanctions against Russia to any negotiated deal on nuclear arms reduction. Trump had previously suggested that the sanctions could provide an opportunity to make such a deal.
Obama insisted the sanctions were to punish Russia for “meddling in Ukraine,” and warned that any deal that lifted the sanctions would confuse the issue. Obama also downplayed the nuclear arms deals’ possibility, insisting he’d already gone as far as Putin was willing to go.