This will be more fodder for the conspiracy theorists who see President-Elect Donald Trump in a cozy relationship with Russia’s president. It’s all over one memo with four items listed by the new DoD as defense priorities.
A memo between Trump transition team’s Undersecretary of Defense for policy Brian McKeon, and the Pentagon, listed Trump’s four priorities, which are, developing a strategy to destroy ISIS, building a strong defense by eliminating sequester, developing a comprehensive cyber strategy, and eliminating wasteful spending.
The memo was obtained by Foreign Policy Magazine and published Tuesday. The magazine, which leans left, suggested Trump has a soft spot for the Kremlin, adding the US “foreign policy establishment – including large swaths of employees at the Pentagon, State Department and CIA – remains deeply skeptical of Moscow.” They reported that the Pentagon sees Russia as the biggest threat to the US.
The article included quotes by anti-Russia scholars, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Evelyn Farkas and Brookings Institution scholar Steven Pifer.
“People there now would be pretty concerned to see Russia not on the list,” said Evelyn Farkas, a former senior Pentagon official who worked on Russia policy before leaving in 2015.
The magazine said the Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, commander of US Army forces in Europe. “revamped some training exercises specifically to replicate fighting Russian armed forces”. It also claimed US, British and Canadian troops were training Ukrainian forces who are “seeing daily combat with Russian-trained and equipped separatists.” Hodges is said to have claimed that many of those units were led by Russian officers.
Trump’s team did not deny the memo or it’s contents, only saying it was incomplete. They dismissed the media’s speculation on a list in one memo as containing all of the president’s priorities. They said they prefer to focus less on offense and fake wars and focus instead on tangible threats and rebuilding the armed forces.
It is fairly ridiculous to consider a leaked memo, the whole of the DoD strategies. It is ironic because the left is usually very Russia-friendly.