US Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has rejected any US military cooperation with Russia, at least for the foreseeable future.
Said Mattis to the Wall Street Journal, “We are not in a position right now to collaborate on a military level.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to work together with the United States on dealing with terrorism and fighting ISIS. However, many deeply suspect Russia’s motives – and many US Senate Republicans are extremely wary of any closer relations with Russia.
As questions swirl regarding Trump’s relationship with Russia, there will be increased political pressure on the administration to avoid anything that looks like a military alliance with Russia.
Trump is also an outlier within his own party when it comes to his views on Russia. The Republicans have historically been more hawkish on Russia than the Democrats, and Trump’s praise of Putin caught many in his own party off guard both during the campaign, and now during his presidency.
With that said, there is more common ground between nations such as the United States and Russian than there is between the US and ISIS. Just as in World War 2 an alliance was formed between western democratic nations and Russia against a brutal enemy, it makes sense for civilized nations to confront the barbaric ideology and actions of ISIS.
However, that cooperation is unlikely at least until the situation in Eastern Ukraine is dealt with. Mattis has said Russia must show they are “living up to their commitments,” which many take to mean a stable peace in Ukraine.
For the time-being, tensions are likely to remain high between the US and Russia.
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