Three days after Vladimit Putin called to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory, urging a reset in US-Russian relations, telling Trump that he is in favor of active joint work to normalize relations and aim for constructive cooperation on a wide range of issues, Barack Obama – speaking in Germany alongside Angela Merkel – urged his successor Thursday to stand up for American values in his dealings with Russia and avoid taking a more practical, “realpolitik approach.”
“I’ve sought a constructive relationship with Russia but what I have also been is realistic in recognizing there is some significant differences in how Russia views the world and how we view the world,” Obama said at a joint press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
President Obama: “There’s some significant differences in how Russia views the world, and how we view the world” https://t.co/yhYnkGJT88
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 17, 2016
He added: “And my hope is the president-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach: Finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia, where our values and interests align” but be “willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.”
The outgoing president added that he doesn’t “expect that the president-elect will follow exactly our approach, but my hope is he does not simply take a realpolitik approach and suggest that, you know, if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves smaller countries vulnerable, or creates long-term problems in regions like Syria, that we just do whatever’s convenient at the time,” the president continued.
While it remains to be seen if Trump will follow any of Obama’s recommendations, certainly this one, Putin – as we observed previously – is taking advantage of the total power vacuum in US foreign hegemony, and moments ago launched the first attack on military targets in Syria involving warplanes from both Russian and Syrian air bases, as well as the Russian aircraft carrier located next to Syria’s coast.
As RT adds, Russia deployed strategic bombers to launch strikes on Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front targets in Syria, the Defense Ministry reported. The bombers flew from Russia for the mission, and fired cruise missiles while over the Mediterranean Sea. With in-flight refueling on two occasions, the bombers covered a distance of some 11,000km (6,835 miles), flying over a northern sea route and the eastern Atlantic.
Su-33 fighter jets from Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and air forces from the Khmeimim base in Syria were also deployed in the strikes on Thursday, Interfax reported, citing the Defense Ministry. Su-30 jets provided cover for the mission, the report added. After launching cruise missiles at terrorist targets in Syria, the Russian jets returned to base, the ministry said.
Terrorist command points, weapons and ammunition depots, as well as an arms production facility were targeted by the strikes, the Russian military said, adding that all coordinates had been checked through several intelligence channels.
“The results of the strikes were also controlled by drones,” the Defense Ministry reported.
Earlier this week, the Defense Ministry announced that Russia was carrying out a large-scale military operation against terrorists in Syria. The Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, took part in the mission for the first time. Su-33 jets were sent on sorties from its deck, targeting terrorist forces in Homs and Idlib provinces. The Russian frigate the Admiral Grigorovich was also deployed in the offensive.
* * *