Bashar Assad

What Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to get from a Trump administration

What Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to get from a Trump administration

Perhaps more than at any time since the Cold War, Kremlinologists are working overtime to decode Russia — galvanized, in part, by Donald Trump’s election as the next U.S. president.

Many analysts have expressed deep concern that Russian muscle-flexing — bellicose moves on its western front, an aggressive military intervention in Syria and an international trail of cyber-provocation — represents a clear challenge to the United States and its allies in Europe and elsewhere. Such an environment, they note, could pose particular peril for an untested American leader.

But there is also a contrarian view: that following a deep freeze in...

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