February 25, 2017 - 11:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - President Donald Trump came to the White House promising a radical reset of US-Russia relations after years of rising tensions under his predecessor.
But barely one month into office, that plan appears to be on hold, and Trump's White House team has taken on an increasingly Russophobic face, AFP said.
After he repeatedly pledged to reach "a deal" with Vladimir Putin while hinting at downgraded relations with NATO and the European Union, Trump has yet to set a meeting with the Russian leader.
Meanwhile Vice President Mike Pence and top cabinet security and defense officials have gone to great lengths to reassure European leaders that Washington is not giving up on its allies, AFP said.
While Trump still holds out the idea of striking up an amicable relationship with Putin, the administration took a distinct turn away from that stance last week with the replacement of pro-Moscow national security advisor Michael Flynn with Lieutenant General HR McMaster, a hawkish army veteran who sees Russia as the primary threat to US interests and global stability, AFP said.
And next week the Senate is expected to approve the appointment of Senator Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence, adding another Putin skeptic to the president's defense and national security team.
"There has been a major shift," said Bruce Jones, vice president and director for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
"My sense is at least we've seen an evolution to an approach that is more sensitive to the threat Russia poses to Europe and the US."
Jake Sullivan, the former national security advisor to vice president Joe Biden, said the White House policy situation is "still unsettled."
However, he said, McMaster's arrival in Flynn's place "could tip the balance."