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Is Trump Duping Putin?

Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to think that he has been using his strategically incompetent American counterpart to advance his ends. In fact, Donald Trump has dragged everyone into his reality-TV world, in which sensation, exaggeration, and misinformation all serve his only true goal: to be the center of attention.

NEW YORK – Most of the world has spent the last two years thinking that Russian President Vladimir Putin is twisting his US counterpart, Donald Trump, around his little finger. But it could well be Trump who is leading Putin by the nose.

Trump does love Putin, or so he says. In his hyperbolic reality-TV-style, Trump has praised Putin’s strongman leadership style and boasted that he could improve America’s relationship with the Kremlin.

This summer, during their bilateral summit in Helsinki, Trump even sided with Putin, a former KGB operative, over US security officials on the issue of Russia’s now-documented interference in the 2016 US presidential election. According to Putin, he rooted for Trump (but of course did not interfere on Trump’s behalf) because they shared a desire to improve bilateral relations.

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