Would Putin start the war with Trump as president?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began last February hides older “roots” and old issues. Putin had been planning his “special operation” for the conquest of Kiev for some time, much longer than the approximately 30 days that elapsed between the approval of the Kremlin and the start of the offensive. But why right now? According to several analysts, a discriminant that could have made a difference in the Russian president’s planning has a name and a surname: Donald Trump. At this point the questions multiply: why did Putin not attack Ukraine during the past administration of the White House? Was Trump able to keep Russia at bay or was he in the interests of Moscow? Was Putin waiting for the US to withdraw from NATO? What would have happened if Trump had been confirmed president?

The relationship between Trump and Putin

During his years in the White House, Trump has never tried to crack relations with Putin, quite the contrary. Despite the façade statements, the two seemed more partners than adversaries in different situations, in a bond perhaps not driven by a deep friendship, but by some common interest. It was Trump himself, in an official note, who gave his answer to one of the questions we asked ourselves, not even too indirectly criticizing the Biden management: “Putin would never have behaved in this way if I had stayed in the White House . If the crisis had been handled correctly, there was absolutely no reason for the situation in Ukraine to occur. ” Ad hoc words, quite formal, certainly with different tones than those used by the former US president during an event in New Orleans. During the convention, in which obviously there was talk of the ongoing war and the difficulties in pursuing the diplomatic path, Trump managed to joke on the issue, with a joke reported by the Washington Post: “The US should put the Chinese flag about F22 fighters and carpet bombing Russia. Then we say: ‘it wasn’t us, it was China. So they start fighting and we sit and watch.’

Why didn’t Putin attack earlier?

Beyond the unhappy exit, Trump also pointed out that he was “one of the toughest presidents” towards his Russian colleague, yet, according to his former national security advisor, John Bolton, there is a good reason. precise if Putin did not attack before: “Putin did not invade Ukraine while Trump was president because he was waiting for the US withdrawal from NATO. He expected this to happen after Trump’s re-election, but things went differently”.


(The handshake between Putin and Bolton which took place in October 2018 – Photo Ansa)

A hypothesis that obviously could lead to political fiction, but which according to Bolton bases its foundations on a simple principle, in the style of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”: “For Putin, a weaker NATO means a stronger and stronger Russia. Trump has never hidden his criticisms of NATO. Putin has seen Trump do much of his work and hoped that in a second term he would fulfill the desire to get the US out of NATO. Such an event would have greatly facilitated the path of the Russian president “.

Born and Ukraine, the common “enemies”?

But what does Bolton mean when he talks about Trump’s “job” for Putin? Some US politicians and commentators have tried to answer the question by comparing Biden’s administration with the previous one. According to analysts, during the Trump administration, Russia was getting what it wanted, especially considering the positions of the former president on some key issues that Moscow cares a lot about, such as the weakening of NATO and the recognition of leadership in Ukraine. Moreover, during the electoral campaign, Trump had also hypothesized a possible dissolution of NATO, planning in the event of a second term, the exit of the United States. But if this plan remained only in Trump’s intentions, the attitude towards Ukrainian President Zelensky was more concrete. After the ex-showman’s landslide election victory in Ukraine, Trump immediately blocked military aid to Kiev, sending emissaries to undermine the new president’s leadership. Confirmation of political alignment with Moscow had already come after Trump’s election victory. On that occasion, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was warmly welcomed in the White House and photographed in the Oval Office complete with a toast.


(Lavrov with Trump inside the White House – Photo Ansa)

What has changed with Biden’s election?

The beginning of an idyll, however, which ended on 21 June 2021 with the defeat of Trump and the election of Joe Biden as president in the United States. The new president immediately took opposite positions with respect to those of the Trump management, generating the concern of the Kremlin. In a short time Biden rebuilt the transatlantic relations of the United States, strengthening the power of NATO. Furthermore, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the United States has sided with Ukraine, supporting Zelensky’s defense, both on the battlefield and diplomatically. It is true, during the Trump administration, Russia did not attack, but Putin used that time to increase his military power, better plan the invasion and prepare the entire country for a war that is anything but cold. What would have happened if these two powerful allies were serious? This, perhaps, is better not to know.

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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