What is the left’s foreign-policy approach to Russia?
Long before the advent of the Trump presidency, progressives had been vocal critics of US actions overseas. Yet they have given much less thought to what US foreign policy should be in the plausible event that a left-leaning Democrat wins the White House in 2020.
Whoever the next president is, one immediate problem facing him or her will be how to deal with Russia, which most Democrats—as well as independents like Bernie Sanders—hold responsible for interfering in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump. Even apart from this apparent meddling, managing relations with Russia will be a top priority for any new administration. The next president will face immediate pressure from the national-security establishment to implement a tougher approach to Russia in Trump’s wake. This could include new and rigorously enforced sanctions, increased arms sales to Ukraine, a renewed push for NATO expansion, more pressure on Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, a new cyberoffensive against Moscow in retaliation for 2016, and covert support for opposition movements in Russia and its former satellites.
This agenda is unlikely to make America or the world more secure, since it will simply further escalate the current dangerous tensions with Russia and increase the risk of future attacks on US institutions. So what should the next president do instead?
Take On Russia’s Oligarchs—by Taking On America’s
Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia has been largely opaque, but from the indictments issued so far, as well as the recent subpoena of the Trump Organization’s records, it is clear that a central issue is money laundering. Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his deputy, Rick Gates, have been indicted on a variety of charges, from laundering millions of dollars to tax evasion, bank fraud, and violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by working as unlicensed lobbyists. Yet what many in Washington have portrayed as shady financial maneuvers in a new Cold War looks a lot like something else: large-scale white-collar crime.