The Slatest

Trump Proposes Russia-U.S. Alliance Against ISIS That Has Already Existed for Almost a Year

Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor on Tuesday night, Donald Trump at one point turned the subject to his own recent remarks about Russia. (Trump asserted this weekend that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is “not gonna go into Ukraine.” In addition to having annexed Crimea, Russia has openly admitted to having sent military personnel into eastern Ukraine and is widely known to support rebel forces there.) Trump, in his discursive manner, then suggested that the United States should seek an alliance with Russia to fight ISIS in the Middle East. Video is above; here’s the transcript:

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[Obama] talks about Ukraine. I believe I know far more about foreign policy than he knows. You look at Ukraine. He talks about Ukraine how tough he is, right? How tough he is with Russia in the meantime they took over Crimea. I understood that and most papers covered what I said accurately and some didn’t because the press is so dishonest. Crimea, I mean, the Russians took it over under Obama’s very powerful leadership. And, you know, he talks about me with Russia. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing, frankly, if we actually got along with Russia and worked out some kind of a deal where we go and knock the hell out of ISIS along with NATO and along with countries that are in the area? Wouldn’t that be wonderful as opposed to fighting?

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This isn’t an obviously bad idea. Which is, perhaps, why the United States and Russia have been coordinating attacks against ISIS forces in Syria since last November. The U.S.’s side of the coalition in this effort includes NATO countries such as Canada, France, and the U.K. as well as nearby nations including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey (which is also a NATO member).

The alliance is far from being an ideal partnership: For one, the U.S. and Russia are actually supporting factions in the Syrian civil war that are also fighting against each other. And yet it is undeniably “some kind of a deal where we go and knock the hell out of ISIS along with NATO and along with countries that are in the area” except in the strict sense that NATO is not formally participating despite the involvement of several member nations.

“I believe I know far more about foreign policy than [Obama] knows,” Trump says. What a world.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.

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