July 28, 2016
Joshua Yaffa wrote for the New Yorker about the Kremlin and Donald Trump:
Why Vladimir Putin would prefer Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton in the White House is not hard to parse. Yes, Putin and Trump have exhibited a certain affinity for each other—Putin has called Trump a “very colorful, talented person,” and Trump has returned the favor, declaring Putin “a leader, unlike what we have in this country”—and they share a political style that reveres strength, elevates cynicism to a virtue, and plays loose with the truth. But, for Putin and those around him, the best thing about Trump is simply that he is not Clinton.
In Clinton, Russian leaders see a potential President who would keep in place, or even strengthen, policies that have proved extraordinarily unwelcome in Moscow. Readers in America, where critics of President Obama’s foreign policy have for years painted him as feckless and disengaged from the world, might be surprised to learn that in Russia he is caricatured as exactly the opposite: an expansive and reckless President who has not been shy about throwing U.S. might around in ways that have damaged Russian interests. Among Russian politicians, Obama has become the personification of a U.S. sanctions regime that has done real harm to the country’s economy. Clinton is thought to be the next in line, and maybe worse.