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Vladimir Putin hopes to play his Trump card with the United StatesAt his annual year-end news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin was as informal, audacious and offensive as his favorite American presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Putin also suggested – despite all the evidence to the contrary – that Russia's presence in Syria would not extend beyond the resolution of the conflict. But Russia already has naval and air bases in Tartous and Latakia – assets that Putin is committed to defending.Putin appears to want a similar outcome.Like Catherine, Putin, hopes to trade off his invasions. Putin is so confident that he holds all the cards that he made a point of toning down his usual anti-American bluster. There is little question, however, about which U.S. candidate Putin would like to see in the White House. Putin plans to remain in power for at least another decade. If the U.S. elects Trump as president, it will have a friend in Russia, if almost nowhere else.
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