(WJAC) As Democrats ratchet up rhetoric denouncing Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, critics say President Obama failed to challenge Vladimir Putin sooner and experts fear that President-elect Donald Trump will walk back efforts to check Russia’s international ambitions. […]
Some foreign policy experts say the perception of Obama as underestimating Putin and ignoring Russia’s transgressions is overly simplistic. […]
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According to Erik Herron, a professor of political science at West Virginia University and author of “Elections and Democracy after Communism?”, Russia has become a threat because its interests have increasingly run counter to the U.S.
“While the U.S. and Russia may have some limited areas where our interests intersect, our overall interests have not aligned in the Putin era,” he said.
“Russia’s leadership has been pursuing a foreign policy of disruption – creating unresolvable conflicts along its borders, undermining confidence in democratic institutions worldwide, and masterfully implementing deceptive information operations,” Herron said.
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Scott Radnitz, an associate professor of international studies at the University of Washington, said Obama’s approach to Russia seems to have been rooted in a belief that escalating conflict with Putin was not in America’s interest.
“Obama’s perspective has always been that Russia poses a threat to its immediate neighbors… but not a fundamental national security threat to the United States,” said Radnitz, director of the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies.
He added that Obama likely would have responded differently to Russia’s efforts to influence the election if he could do it all over again.
“I think everybody underestimated Russia’s ability to create a lot of problems using cyberwarfare,” he said. […]
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