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Barack Obama warns Donald Trump against rushing into deals with Russia

Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
A stern but diplomatic warning.
By Hanna Kozlowska
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Speaking during his last presidential visit to Berlin, US president Barack Obama cautioned his successor, Donald Trump, about the pitfalls of dealing with Russia. He said he hoped the president-elect would be “willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.”

“I don’t expect the president-elect will follow exactly our blueprint or our approach, but my hope is he does not simply take a realpolitik approach and suggest we cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or violates international norms or leaves smaller countries vulnerable,” Obama said during a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel. The remarks were especially resonant delivered in Germany, a nation that straddled the diving line between the Soviet Union and Western powers for so many years.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has emphasized that he was willing to work with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and said he admired the strongman. The two spoke after the election and agreed to improve “unsatisfactory relations” between Russia and the United States.

Obama and Merkel issued a statement earlier in the day, published by Wirtschafts Woche, a German magazine. Most of the statement is a rebuttal of Trump’s worldview as he expressed it during the presidential campaign,  Zach Beauchamp points out at Vox—from his views on refugees to climate change to free trade.

“Our countries share a joint responsibility to protect and preserve our way of life,” the two leaders write. “It is in this spirit that we are working hard to ensure that international law and norms are respected around the globe—which remains a prerequisite for stability and prosperity.”

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