President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to throw down on Barack Obama’s foreign policy record.
For eight years Russia "ran over" President Obama, got stronger and stronger, picked-off Crimea and added missiles. Weak! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 7, 2017
The Commander-in-Chief’s tweet came after months and months of claims that his administration has ties to the Russian government. However, there haven’t been any major policy decisions between the White House and the Kremlin since Trump took office, either.
But Trump’s tweet implied that Obama got “run over” by Russia. So we took a look at Obama’s Russia policy during his two terms as president.
On July 7, 2009, the New York Times ran a story titled: “Obama Resets Ties with Russia, but Work Remains.”Image Credit: Alexy Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images
The article talked about Obama’s first meeting with Putin and pointed out that:
“White House aides agreed that the hard part was ahead, but they argued that the progress eclipsed that of any Russian-American summit meeting in decades.”
On April 8, 2010, The Guardian reported that Obama had signed a historic nuclear arms treaty in the Czech Republic with former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.Image Credit: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images
Obama said of the agreement, “Together, we have stopped the drift, and proven the benefits of cooperation.”
But one month before the end of 2011, relations between the U.S. and Russia started to get icy.
On November 23, 2011, The Telegraph reported that Medvedev was furious over U.S. plans to build a missile defense shield in Poland.Image Credit: Dmitry Astakhov/AFP/Getty Images
It had only been two years since Obama met with Russian leaders, and in response to the U.S. helping its allies in Eastern Europe, Medvedev was threatening to launch missile attacks against NATO members.
One year later, however, Obama appeared more relaxed in his stance on missile defense. On March 26, 2012, he was caught in a damning hot-mic moment discussing missile defense with Medvedev.
The former president told Medvedev:
“This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev responded to Obama by saying he would “transmit” the information to Vladimir Putin, who still wouldn’t be President of Russia for another two months.
On October 22, 2012, former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney confronted Obama about the “flexibility” quote. He told Obama that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”
Obama fired back with the soundbite that would haunt the rest of his presidency:
“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.
But governor when it comes to our foreign policy, it seems you want to import the foreign policy of the 1980s.”
But “retro” was apparently in, and the 1980s showed up a lot quicker than Obama expected.
On August 8, 2013, Obama sent a signal of just how bad relations had become between Russia and America.
CNN reports circulated, indicating that President Obama cancelled talks with now President Vladimir Putin before the G-20 Summit, a major forum for international governments.
While Obama didn’t go to Moscow before the summit in St. Petersburg, he did take a photo-op with the Russian leader at the G-20.Image Credit: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
But things were about to get worse…
In late February of 2014, people around the world woke up to the news of unidentified troops invading the Crimean Peninsula, an ex-territory in Ukraine.Image Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
It didn’t take long to figure out that they were Russian separatists and Russian troops working together to strongarm the people of Crimea. On March 1, Putin signed off on parliament’s call to use force in Ukraine.
America responded to the crisis in Ukraine on March 16, by slapping sanctions on Russia via the State Department:
Executive Order 13660, signed on March 6, 2014, authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people. These sanctions put in place restrictions on the travel of certain individuals and officials and showed our continued efforts to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea.
Two days later, Putin signed a bill effectively annexing Crimea as a part of Russia, following a referendum vote.
The State Department hit back with a hashtag campaign:
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) March 26, 2014
Obama’s international image took a big hit at the UN the next year.
In September of 2015, CNN ran a story titled: “Vladimir Putin steals Barack Obama’s thunder on the World Stage” and reported that:
The Russian president showed up at the United Nations on Monday for the first time in a decade, proposing a coup against U.S. global leadership and seeking to wrest control of a coalition battling ISIS away from America’s grip.
And he wasn’t the only leader of a country challenging the United States to effectively upstage Obama at the annual global meeting, which a U.S. president traditionally uses to command the spotlight.
A photo of the then-president and Putin locking eyes at the UN went viral and made it abundantly clear that America and Russia were not on the same page.Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
In October of 2015, Putin hit Obama again, this time for not wanting to work together in Syria. Putin said, “The U.S. and its allies have mush for brains.”
But in 2016, tensions reached a boiling point:
- Russian fighter jets flew within distances of 10-30 feet of U.S. ships and planes.
- Putin cemented his footprint in Syria by making a deal with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to use his airbase whenever he wants.
- Putin moved nuclear missiles into Kaliningrad, an exclave territory between Lithuania and Poland, putting NATO allies on edge.
- Putin’s airstrikes in Syria killed US-backed groups in the fight against ISIS.
Then, the cake topper: Russia hacked the 2016 elections. According to the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, however, “They did not change any vote tallies or anything of that sort.”
In response to the hacking, the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S.
To recap, Obama went from wanting to “reset” relations with a smile between Russia and the U.S. in 2009 to icy cold stares and expelling Russian nationals in 2016:Image Credit: Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images
Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine waged on, leaving an estimated 9,750 people dead. Syria remains the hottest war zone on the planet, and Obama left the Trump administration in the most difficult position with Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.