The former Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Danish prime minister said on Friday that President Donald Trump should meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to send a clear message to the Kremlin about U.S. foreign policy.
“I have a very concrete piece of advice,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Breitbart News. “I think he should meet President Poroshenko before he meets President Putin.”
Rasmussen said that is because it would send the wrong message to meet with the “aggressor” before the “victim.”
Trump should look to Reagan’s legacy, Rasmussen added.
“I think he will draw exactly the same lesson as his predecessor Reagan did that to deal with the Russians you need to negotiate from a position of strength,” Rasmussen said. “So, to engage President Putin in a more constructive relationship, he needs, first of all, to show President Putin that he is strong and that President Trump, first and foremost, will help his allies and friends.”
Rasmussen wrote about Trump, Russia and the Ukraine in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.
“U.S.-Russia relations may need to get worse before they can get better,” Rasmussen wrote. “Shifting to a harder line is the only way for Washington to gain leverage on Moscow, change the dynamic in the Ukraine, and gain congressional support for the Trump foreign policy.”
“Mr. Trump has an example to follow,” Rasmussen wrote. “Even as the Cold War raged, President Ronald Reagan beefed up the U.S. military in Europe.”
“Reagan spoke from a position of strength when he urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; ‘Tear down this wall,’” Rasmussen wrote.
Breitbart News reported in February that Trump’s choice of H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser sent two important messages to Russia.
First, given his groundbreaking analysis of the Vietnam War, it signals that military leaders will be taken seriously in the Trump administration. Second, given his brilliant leadership of ground forces in Operation Desert Storm and his extensive studies of Russian tactics, it tells Moscow that the United States is taking their provocations seriously.
In February, the State Department condemned Russian-backed separatist aggression in eastern Ukraine.
“The United States is closely monitoring the growing violence in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks and the continuing failure of the combined-Russian separatist forces to honor the cease-fire called for under the Minsk agreements,” Mark Toner, acting spokesman for State, said. ”We condemn Friday’s targeting of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) monitors and the seizure of a SMM unmanned aerial vehicle by combined-Russian separatist forces.”
Rasmussen told Breitbart News that he hopes Trump reads his commentary and takes his advice.
“It is in everyone’s interest to defuse the ticking time bomb in eastern Ukraine and find a new formula for engagement,” Rasmussen wrote. “For Kiev it could lead to greater security; for Moscow it could mean the end of economic sanctions; and for President Trump it could be the gambit that finally puts his Russia demons to bed and shows him as the Reaganesque leader he longs to be.”
“I have conveyed that very clear message here in town,” Rasmussen said. “I hope he will listen to it.”