In a piece for The New York Times, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Trump administration’s views on Russia, making it clear that Washington does not view Moscow as a strategic partner. Here are some relevant excerpts:
On Russia, we have no illusions about the regime we are dealing with. The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of Western nations by meddling in our election and others.
The appointment of Kurt Volker, a former NATO ambassador, as special representative for Ukraine reflects our commitment to restoring the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Absent a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine situation, which must begin with Russia’s adherence to the Minsk agreements, there cannot be business as usual with Russia
While we are on guard against Russian aggression, we recognize the need to work with Russia where mutual interests intersect. Nowhere is that more evident than in Syria. Now that President Vladimir Putin has committed to the United Nations-backed Geneva political process for providing a new future for Syria, we expect Russia to follow through. We are confident that the fulfillment of these talks will produce a Syria that is free of Bashar al-Assad and his family. [source]
(Analyst comment: This makes it about as plain as the Trump White House can make it — no matter what you think about so-called “Trump-Russia” collusion narrative during the 2016 election, it seems less and less likely the current occupant of the Oval Office is an ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Far from it. In fact, you could say that this president’s desire to bulk up the U.S. military, take on North Korea, challenge China in the South China Sea and stand up to Iran are all policies not in Moscow’s best interests.)