Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his response to sanctions placed on Russia by the Obama administration yesterday in response to alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
He is ignoring them until Trump takes office.
Putin said in a statement issued by the Kremlin, “Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-U.S. relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.”
Putin’s repudiation of Obama was both unprecedented and predictable. Putin already had little regard for Obama and views him as the lamest of lame ducks. Putin knows that Obama’s foreign policy was decisively rejected by the American people with the election of Donald Trump.
Putin and the world view any last-minute foreign policy initiatives by the Obama administration as illegitimate since they are certain to be quickly reversed by the Trump administration.
Now that the election is over and his time in office is winding down, one of Mr. Obama’s major responsibilities is ensuring a smooth transfer of power. He is ignoring this responsibility by his Russia sanctions that clearly are designed to create roadblocks for Mr. Trump.
I also believe these sanctions are the latest effort by Obama and the Democratic party to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election win.
Even worse, the perception that an outgoing U.S. president is trying to box in and sabotage the foreign policy of his successor hurts the global reputation of America’s democratic system.
If the Obama administration believes it must make major foreign policy moves between now and Inauguration Day, it should only do so with the input and assent of President-elect Trump. It is irresponsible for Mr. Obama to set in motion such initiatives with only weeks left in his presidency that his successor will probably suspend or cancel.
President Obama, please stop. It’s too late for you to salvage your disastrous foreign policy. The time for you to hold Russia accountable for numerous instances of belligerent and destabilizing behavior has long past.
While you may be angry about Trump’s election and the likelihood that he will reverse your foreign policy achievements, moves like your Russia sanctions will only cause you to go down in history as an even more inconsequential president.
Mr. Obama, our nation needs you to leave office with class and grace.