Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney discussed the state of U.S.-Russia relations on Wednesday’s edition of Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam.
Kassam praised the Center for Security Policy’s book Putin’s Reset: The Bear is Back and How America Must Respond, available for free download at the link above. Kassam said he is “not in full agreement with everything, but it’s certainly enlightening, and it’s a great compendium of actually what has happened to this relationship and how it has happened.”
He asked Gaffney about the actions recently taken against Russia, including the expulsion of Russian diplomats, and asked if Putin was scoring political points against outgoing President Obama by taking the “high road” and choosing not to retaliate in kind.
“I think Obama has made a hash-up of this portfolio from the get-go,” Gaffney said. “It was first his ‘reset,’ of course, and that got bollixed. It then turned into, as a result of his communicating that he was going to be even more flexible after his re-election, all kinds of conduct by the Russians that has exacerbated relations and resulted in sanctions and so on.”
“I think the President was obliged to do something, and as is his wont, he did sort of the least he could get away with,” Gaffney said of Obama’s response to allegations of Russian hacking. “It wasn’t a particularly big deal that the Russians, in the old days, would simply have gone tit for tat. I don’t think it’s so much that Putin went ‘high road’ as that he calculated that by not doing a retaliatory expulsion of diplomats and so on that he may well be able, with a Trump presidency, to get some more time with another reset.”
“I have to say, I’m a big believer that there are opportunities to work with Russia. I’m not sanguine about the opportunities to work with Russia under Vladimir Putin. That’s the problem I believe Donald Trump is going to confront fairly quickly, and probably with a similar kind of, well, dose of reality as Barack Obama himself was exposed to,” he predicted.
That was the limit of Gaffney’s predictions for the future of Russian relations, as he candidly admitted he was not sure what would happen next and doubted anyone in the new administration was entirely certain, either.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of making this up as they go along,” he said. “But I think there will be a signal sent that the President-elect would like a new relationship. That’s already been done. I can’t see him undoing some of these steps because what, are we going to actually invite the Russians to have two intelligence safe houses back in operation in the United States? That doesn’t seem feasible to me.”
Kassam asked if it was possible to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate demands.
“What’s going to happen before that, of course, there’s going to be this conference in France where the President, John Kerry, the United States government, it appears, are going to be coming very close to, if not actually recognizing, a Palestinian state,” Gaffney said.
“I think the blowback to that will make what we’ve already seen pale by comparison, and that will all the more likely the decision of the Trump presidency, apparently, to move the embassy something that will be broadly supported – on both sides of the aisle, by the way,” he anticipated. “The President has come in for immense amounts of criticism, from many in his own party, for what he’s been doing vis-a-vis the Palestinians, and I think properly so.”
“When they see what he does in Paris – he personally, on the 16th of January, is supposed to be there presiding over this international conference and bang away at Israel again, in promoting the Palestinian cause again. I think there will be a strong sentiment that we need a new, and much more vigorous, relationship with Israel. Moving the embassy would be one way to symbolize that change,” Gaffney suggested.
He said he would be surprised if the Israelis attended the Paris meeting, but he added that he has not heard of any formal announcements one way or the other.
“It’s being present at your own lynching,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to give it a miss, I think you would, don’t you?”
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