I’ll preface this by saying I’m a political novice and I don’t always have a great grasp on the bigger picture of these types of things. Also, a lot has likely changed since this was published and the points perhaps easily refuted, but I did read an NPR story last summer discussing some considerations. This is not me trying to argue a point, but just contributing something I’ve heard:
Take military spending: Trump sought to add $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2018 to the European Deterrence Initiative — a military effort to deter Russian aggression that was initially known as the European Reassurance Initiative. That’s a 41 percent increase from the last year of the Obama administration. The president also agreed to send lethal weapons to Ukraine — a step that Obama resisted. And Trump gave U.S. forces in Syria more leeway to engage with Russian troops.
The administration has also imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian oligarchs and government officials. And Trump has aggressively promoted U.S. energy exports, although so far that hasn’t created much competition for Russia’s oil and gas.
Then again, after those paragraphs, there’s this:
Whatever tough policies the White House may have adopted toward Moscow also have to be weighed against Trump’s rhetoric, which is consistently friendly to Putin. He suggested inviting Russia to rejoin the G-7, a group Moscow was suspended from following the illegal annexation of Crimea. Trump also congratulated Putin on his suspect re-election victory, despite explicit instructions from his advisers.
“There’s a real disconnect between the president’s words and the underlying policy,” said Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security.
So, again, since I don’t know too much, I’m not sure if any of that holds any real weight, but I wonder if that’s what he’s referencing when he mentions how tough he’s been. I know there’s been stuff going around regarding the US not following through on sanctions but I don’t know if those are the same ones referenced in this article or not.
Maybe this can serve as a jump off point for someone else to more eloquently refute.