US Policy on Russia Aims for Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in 2015; US National Security Adviser John Bolton meets Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in 2018

Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. Foreign leaders and members of Congress have since focused their attention on Donald Trump’s Russia policies and may be neglecting other national security challenges. “The intense scrutiny placed on Trump and collusion has created a political atmosphere in which Russia has effectively become a boogeyman for domestic political ends,” writes Nicholas Trickett, research scholar and editor-in-chief of BMB Russia. “The Russia story provides political cover for the much scarier prospect of war with Iran.” Trump appointed hawks on Iran for two key positions: national security advisor in March and secretary of state in April. By May, the United States withdrew from the deal on containing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So far, no policy shifts signal that the United States is going easy on Russia. Trickett analyzes the Trump administration’s subsequent moves with Russia on Syria and concludes that the Iran hawks may have figured out how to manipulate the president for their own political ends. – YaleGlobal