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Trumpís first crisis abroad: US?President can tell Putin that Russiaís expansion must stop
Posted:Feb 14, 2017
 
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Perhaps inevitably, North Korea’s ballistic-missile test last Sunday was characterised by many analysts as Donald Trump’s first foreign-policy challenge, or at least the first not caused by his own blundering. But this is to overstate both the threat presented by Pyongyang, and the options available to the White House. There is no realistic scenario in which Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s dictator, launches a war against South Korea or Japan. And so long as he doesn’t cross that line, Washington has no influence over his behaviour. The only challenge Kim presents is to Trump’s claim as the planet’s most egotistical leader.
 
In reality the first foreign-policy crisis of the Trump presidency has been unfolding since the end of January, 7,000 km due West of Pyongyang. In Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his proxy militias have resumed in earnest their programme of destabilisation and annexation. The campaign had been paused during the US presidential election, and started up again within hours of Putin’s January 28 phone-call with Trump.
 
With his biggest American fan safely ensconced in the White House, Putin seems to have decided to return to his plans to expand Russia’s territorial outlines in the west, while pushing the envelope with his foes in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Violence flared up in the Donbas region of Ukraine, where Moscow’s proxies as well as regular Russian forces have been competing with the government in Kiev for control. Observers for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe reported that the number of explosions in eastern Ukraine shot up from 420 on Jan. 26 to over 10,000 on Jan. 31. Attacks on civilian infrastructure by Russian and separatist forces killed 13 Ukrainian soldiers, and left the town of Avdiivka without electricity for a week, in the middle of the winter freeze.
 
Read more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/trump-s-choice-ukraine-or-putin/story-cXzWd3LWCJKyUM5cI7tyiK.html
 
Hindustan Times, February 15, 2017 
 
 
 
 
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