Trump and Russia

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21716609-it…

This article cites 3 major objectives Trump hopes to achieve with a reset of relations with Putin: taming of conflict in Middle East, reduction of destabilizing Russian activity in Europe, and gaining an ally to help check the growing influence of China.

TE goes on to say that none of the 3 goals are realistically achievable (and in the case of China, completely wrongheaded). In order to avoid being "the third American president in a row to be outfoxed by Mr Putin", Trump must embrace an incremental approach to handling Russia.

As the WSO community, let's pretend for a moment that we are Trump's foreign policy advisors. What the hell should be done?

Comments (33)

Feb 9, 2017 - 12:17pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We should obviously go to war with Russia. They are our premement enemy.

Love the economist, but their opinions are globalist and westernphalian.

1) ME conflict will never be rammed, but teaming up with other nations (Russia) and stopping the destabilizing nation wrecking policies of the past would go a long way towards helping the situation. If Saddam and brother leader were in power we wouldn't have the migrant crisis or ISIS. Allowing Russia to save out ass in Syria was probably the smartest thing Obama did.

2) Russia is destabilizing in the Ukraine because the US and EU continually encroach on Russia's sphere of influence. We back off and they will back off. If Russia rolls tanks into Estonia I will change my opinion, but until then we simply antagonize the Russians.

3) Russia has plenty of conflict with a china and frankly, China is more of a threat to Russia than the US. I don't think russia will be a huge leverage point with china, but it's better than nothing.

Putin isn't out foxing anyone, including bush or Obama. They have strategic alliances and goals just like the US. We have so many problems that i really don't see how Russia propping up Syria or meddling in the Ukraine as an issue. Personally, Russia could launch air strikes on France and I wouldn't care.

We have two massive oceans and a nuclear deterrent. The us needs to focus on jobs, cutting taxes and energy production. We waste so much time and energy being the worlds police. Cut defense spending, reduce our base prescence and focus internally. But republicans won't have this. Military industrial complex in full effect.

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Feb 9, 2017 - 12:34pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The world? Excluding China, half the ME, Russia, Europe whenever their opinions change.

Guess you haven't been paying attention the last 20 years as the US and world has been fighting over senseless shit since the dawn of time.

How about we usher in a new world where the US spends money on schools, healthcare, infrastructure, science, etc instead of drone bombing some afghani kid.

If the American era means killing military aged males with 70k hellfire missile while we are 29T in debt, then I cannot wait for that era to end.

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Feb 9, 2017 - 1:32pm
David Aames, what's your opinion? Comment below:

@TNA" is either trolling us all, or having a manic episode, no one in his/her right mind is this delusional

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?
Feb 16, 2017 - 12:20pm
Stratguy, what's your opinion? Comment below:
TNA:

We should obviously go to war with Russia. They are our premement enemy.

Love the economist, but their opinions are globalist and westernphalian.

1) ME conflict will never be rammed, but teaming up with other nations (Russia) and stopping the destabilizing nation wrecking policies of the past would go a long way towards helping the situation. If Saddam and brother leader were in power we wouldn't have the migrant crisis or ISIS. Allowing Russia to save out ass in Syria was probably the smartest thing Obama did.

2) Russia is destabilizing in the Ukraine because the US and EU continually encroach on Russia's sphere of influence. We back off and they will back off. If Russia rolls tanks into Estonia I will change my opinion, but until then we simply antagonize the Russians.

3) Russia has plenty of conflict with a china and frankly, China is more of a threat to Russia than the US. I don't think russia will be a huge leverage point with china, but it's better than nothing.

Putin isn't out foxing anyone, including bush or Obama. They have strategic alliances and goals just like the US. We have so many problems that i really don't see how Russia propping up Syria or meddling in the Ukraine as an issue. Personally, Russia could launch air strikes on France and I wouldn't care.

We have two massive oceans and a nuclear deterrent. The us needs to focus on jobs, cutting taxes and energy production. We waste so much time and energy being the worlds police. Cut defense spending, reduce our base prescence and focus internally. But republicans won't have this. Military industrial complex in full effect.

You're naïve regarding Russia. Russia is not destabilizing Ukraine because we "encroach on Russias sphere of influence", Russia destabilizes Ukraine because it wrongly believes it HAS a rightful sphere of influence in eastern Europe. The fact is that Ukraine and other countries in that region are sovereign nations, not client states of Russias empire. There is a reason WHY they would rather be EU members and distance themselves from the dictatorship ruled by a corrupt cabal of gangsters.

And Putins actions in Syria have nothing at all to do with stability or ISIS. It is about keeping Europe dependent on Gazprom oil for reasons of economic and political leverage.

American decrease in military spending and retraction of military bases at this point would only result in greater aggression by Russia, China and Iran. Our allies in these vulnerable regions know this and none of their leaders and **real world **defense experts are advocating this. Only armchair commenters whose understanding of global affairs comes from the babbling of some know-nothing university professor.

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Feb 16, 2017 - 12:48pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Cool insults. Didn't realize I was chatting with Kissinger.

1) this concept of sphere of influence applies to the US as well. I suggest you read about the Monroe doctrine to see how super powers deal with the desires of sovereign nations.

2) no shit Russia's actions in Syria had motives that benefited Russia. Quote where I said they were altruistic. As if the US or any other nations actions are any better. Luckily for the US, Russia's desire to prop up a friendly nation also benefited us.

3) only people advocating continued intervention and military action are neocons and defense companies.

You're reply was weak and inefficient. Furthermore, China, Iran, Russia messing with nations we control or manipulate has nothing to do with the USA or our citizens. How about instead of spending a fortune on pointless wars we spend that money here in the US?

Please enlighten me about all the benefits we've gotten from spending over a trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the wonderful good will we've created in those countries.

Lol

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Feb 9, 2017 - 1:41pm
FinanceRob, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'll piggyback on TNA, I agree with a lot of the thoughts he provided . Remember a lot of people's perception of the world/knowledge is shaped by the media (in a general sense). While Syria/ISS, and "Russia is being bad" are big talking points with the media/government, there are other concerns that thrive in the world without heavy coverage that are just as, if not more important (which goes more with TNA's point#2 & #3 - China's economic/trade influences, America's role in disrupting Russian/Chinese spheres of influence, Chinese dominance in SE Asia, etc).

The last paragraph is very important too. Look at the costs built up due to our involvement in Afghanistan & Iraq (over $1 Trillion). Was it really necessary? Some would argue no. We have nothing to really show for it but a huge deficit and military assets with a lot of hours piled on them. While the war may have benefited the warfighter with the development of tactics and technological upgrades due to increased budgets, it's also handicapped the US military's future ability to fight wars and screwed our budget to order to maintain these aged assets. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had just increased resources of SOCOM & Intel and avoided the large occupations to find HVTs (like we do now).

To Make America Great Again: - Keep China dependent on the US dollar - Not give Russia breathing room or allow them to grow into a dominant super power again (avoid war or proxy conflicts) - Kill standardized tests and consider investing a lot of money in revolutionizing the American education to better serve individual needs so that they can be contributing members of society (in some fashion - even if they made bad decisions along the way). - Give more incentives, power, competitive protection to encourage small business growth - Break up corporations and be more strict on mergers/acquisitions

If you find yourself feeling lost, go climb a mountain.
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Feb 9, 2017 - 12:46pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

100% agree. Unfortunately that wouldn't have benefited republicans or Lockheed Martin, et al.

Feb 9, 2017 - 1:41pm
WBI2994, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I totally agree that less adversarial relations with Russia would create opportunities for stabilizing the ME and Eastern European regions. My emotional/humanitarian side will always be uncomfortable with the idea of enabling authoritarian governments like Syria, Russia with abysmal human rights track records (my grandparents survived the horrors of dictator rule). However - as you have mentioned - recent history has shown that the alternative of directly confronting every anti-democratic power is much worse.

My fear is that Putin will continue to escalate foreign aggression - even if the U.S./NATO/EU reduces antagonistic pressure. Why? Because Putin can remain in power only if Russian standards of living rise, or if the people believe that Putin is their protector. He has no real interest in accomplishing the first option, because that would require fixing the system of crony capitalism that consolidates his power. So, he will continue to stir up trouble abroad in order to hawk the "us vs. them narrative" at home.

Feb 10, 2017 - 4:50pm
FinanceRob, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In regards to the last part of your message, the US is definitely good at doing this too :) Isn't it our business model and foreign policy? lol.

If you find yourself feeling lost, go climb a mountain.
Mar 29, 2017 - 4:53pm
FutureScammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Oh yeah, that's smart, because Putin personally decides every single one of the policies of Russia, he eats journalists for breakfast and obviously the intervention into Crimea had nothing to do with EU/US supported coups in Kiev - it was just a dictator doing dictator stuff. Give me a break, the Kremlin is a rational player which reacted with force to a forceful encroachment upon its interests. To say that Putin started the Ukraine crisis to become more popular among his constituents is nonsense; any rational player would conclude that it'd be far too risky to antagonise most of the G8 just to galvanise public support you don't really need (Putin already was by far the most popular politician in Russia in 2014).

Turn off the TV, stop imagining Putin is Hitler and start thinking for yourself. Honestly, you bitch that you're against the US dealing with authoritarian regimes, but you don't care about the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt etc ?

Mar 30, 2017 - 11:20am
WBI2994, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Never said Putin is Hitler. Obviously he doesn't control every single facet of Russian life like its 1984.
But I'd say it's undeniable that he and his governing elite hold a disproportionate amount of power over the Russian media, economy, political system, etc. Probably similar to China in the extent of government control.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt do not pose nearly as much of a threat on the world stage.

But it's certainly much easier for you to distort everything to the extremes in order to make a point.

Mar 30, 2017 - 3:39pm
FutureScammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Indeed, he and his governing elite do hold a disproportionate amount of power and Russia is indeed an autocracy, but it's not some kind of rogue state mafia-basketcase like you describe it. Further, look at it from their perspective. In 1991 they lost their empire, during the 90s NATO took advantage of Russian weakness to expand and assert itself, and in 2014 western politicians were flying into Kiev - the birthplace of the Russian civilisation - urging protestors to drag Ukraine out of the Russian sphere. Gimme a break, Russia isn't a threat to world peace - we are.

And Saudi Arabia doesn't pose a threat? Where do you think ISIS benefactors are channeling weapons & funds from? Who funds the most radical mosques? Where do you think radical islam came from? Wahhabism is the keyword here. Saudi Arabia is possibly one of the most significant threats we face, yet you hear nothing about them because Saudi money is flowing thru the lobbyists & politicians' pockets.

Mar 30, 2017 - 6:23pm
WBI2994, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, but still not as much of a threat as Russia - which controls a nuclear arsenal.

And sure, NATO encroachment in the balkan states likely provoked Russia. Who knows, maybe Putin would reduce expansionist tendencies if the western powers backed off a little. But at the end of the day, we really don't know for sure.

And beyond the issue of foreign aggression, it is really discouraging that such a large and significant world power refuses to take necessary steps to reduce corruption, introduce true market based reforms, and dismantle the oligopoly. Maybe I am coming across as an idealistic, naive kid, but it just makes me sad to see such stunted progress for millions of people. At least China is making more of an effort improve standards of living for the average person, while also gradually becoming a more responsible actor on the global stage.

Best Response
Mar 30, 2017 - 6:37pm
Blank999, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One could argue that the ME is far more dangerous. Let's remember, there has been only one nation that has used a nucear weapon. Also, guerilla warfare and ISIS type fighters are far harder to contain, fight and beat than a traditional army. Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist attackers caused more deaths than Russia has.

NATO was created to counter balance the Union of Soviet States. Westphalian power balance. The Russian Union is gone, yet NATO continues to grow. BTW, alliances are what causes war. As part of being in NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all. This is what caused the end of Hitler and Mussolini (Pact of Steal) and what caused WW1. How is an attack on say Poland worth Americans dying? It isn't. And NATO costs the US and for what gain?

While Russia is far worse in all the things you mention than the US, to paint them with this dark brush while ignoring our own sins is naive. How much did Halliburton make when Cheney was VP? How much have we spent on endless wars? How many civilians have died in Mosul recently, yet we condem Russia in Syria. We condemn Russia for propping up a dictator ally, yet ignore how we supported Saddam over the years, as well as other Central American, South American, and ME dictators/strong men over time.

And using China as some altruistic comparison to evil Russia is laughable. China is actually communist, continually has human rights violations, is building islands and antagonizing Taiwan, Japan, etc. Yet we ignore this all because of cheap labor. If Russia produced IPhones, Putin could put his people into a meat grinder and we would look the other way.

BTW - China has actually and continually hacked the US (both Govt and Business). It has actively stolen technology. China has tried to influence US elections. China is being outwardly aggressive to the US and its allies. Yet you hear nothing about China in the news.

I hope in 100 years we will find someone else to scapegoat. The tired "Russia is Evil" shit is old as can be. How about we try and build and strengthen relations with Russia instead of alienate. Because guess what? We wouldn't win a war with Russia and we wont go to war with Russia. But we could use Russia to hedge China (as well as those cocksuckers in Europe). But no. We blame them for Hillary losing (even though she ran a shit campaign and lost blue collar Dem States - PA, Wisconsin, Michigan, because she turned her back on the unions and focused on fringe, liberal causes). The fact that Trump won Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan should tell you that it wasn't Russia or Podesta emails, but a message of jobs and pro America. This was always the message of Dems (Kerry, Obama, Gore), yet Hillary seemed to think that California and NYC would carry the day.

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Mar 31, 2017 - 2:36am
FutureScammer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So by your logic the UK is also a huge threat to the US? What makes you think the Russians want a nuclear holocaust any more than we do? Fact is, entities based in Saudi Arabia are causing far more damage than Russia, and are clearly a much more serious threat.

Russia does have completely free markets, what they don't have are free, independent and efficient courts & law enforcement. This shit isn't something you fix in 5 years, it takes generations, if we take the US as an example (post civil-war era).

I think it'd be much better for America if it stopped wasting 5% of its GDP on handouts to the military contractors, playing world police and instead start focusing on fixing the problems in the US which have been growing out of control.

Apr 27, 2017 - 9:15am
JTJR, what's your opinion? Comment below:

CIA concludes Russia interfered to help Trump win election (Originally Posted: 12/11/2016)

Hey Guys,

Just read this article which basically stated that Russia interfered with the election to help Trump win.

A secret CIA assessment found that Russian operatives covertly interfered in the election campaign in an attempt to ensure the Republican candidate's victory, the Washington Post reported, citing officials briefed on the matter.

A separate report in the New York Times said intelligence officials had a "high confidence" that Russia was involved in hacking related to the election.

Well...what the heck. Guess we should have seen this coming, considering how Putin likes Trump and all. But what do you guys think about this?

Apr 27, 2017 - 9:16am
Esuric, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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“Elections are a futures market for stolen property”
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