Why Russia is the GOP’s Foreign Policy Litmus Test

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Russia is back in the U.S. political spotlight in a way it hasn’t been since the Cold War. President Vladimir Putin is increasing Russia’s show of force around the globe – fanning the flames of the Syrian civil war as an ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, allegedly hacking the DNC’s emails and dropping them publicly on Wikileaks, and recently threatening Ukraine with a weapons build-up in Crimea and military exercises miming the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

In response, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has withheld any condemnation, instead expressing admiration for the Russian leadership and suggesting greater cooperation. Trump’s support for Putin may be drummed up by his coterie of advisers who have extensive business ties to the country. But toning down the GOP’s traditionally hawkish policy toward Russia—as one witness claims the Trump team did at the GOP convention last month—reflects a longstanding policy disagreement within the party.

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