President Barack Obama expressed some concern over the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump might try to “cut some deals” in order to work with Russia rather than standing up for Western ideals.
In a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday in Berlin, Obama said he hoped that the President-elect followed his own administration’s stated model of valuing human rights and national sovereignty in dealing with Russia.
“My hope is the President-elect coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia, where our values and interests align,” Obama said, “but that the President-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia where they are deviating from our values and international norms.”
“I don’t expect that the President-elect will follow exactly our blueprint or our approach,” he continued. “But my hope is that he does not simply take a realpolitik approach and suggest that, you know, if we just cut some deals with Russia, even if it hurts people or even if it violates international norms or even if it leaves smaller countries vulnerable or creates long-term problems in regions like Syria, that we just do what’s convenient at the time.”
Still, Obama said he was “encouraged” by members of Trump’s transition team expressing their support for NATO.
“His full commitment to NATO as the foundation for international security, I think, is very important,” Obama said.