The talks of a “Reset” with Russia under Barack Obama in the early 2010s have proven ill-fated, evidenced by the strain placed on US foreign policy by the Ukraine Crisis and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. President Putin continues to wield anti-American sentiment as a domestic political tool.
Russia’s role in influencing the 2016 US election has thrust the country and its cyberactivities into the media and political limelight. The hacking efforts have been called “among the most sophisticated attacks ever launched against US government systems.” While President Donald Trump maintains a strong personal relationship with President Putin and has been seen as “pro-Russian,” perceived interference by Russia has resulted in the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in 2016, the enactment of the high-profile Mueller investigation, sanctions against Russian companies, and investigations by US intelligence services. It remains to be seen at future summits how the warm personal relationship between Presidents Trump and Putin will play out. Concerns over Russian brinkmanship mixed with concerns over a deteriorating world order indicate the relationship is likely to worsen before it improves.