Yet more serious, perhaps, was his answer to a question of whether, as president, he would recognize Russia's claim to Crimea and lift sanctions imposed after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory in 2014: "Yes. We would be looking at that," he said.
The problem isn't merely that he was so obviously unprepared to discuss one of the most sensitive issues in U.S. foreign policy, though that's pretty bad in itself. The annexation — which the United States, the European Union, and the U.N. General Assembly have all condemned — and Russia's support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, are sources of deep U.S.-Russia tension. To be taken off guard on such matters reveals an ignorance of foreign policy that rivals former Alaska Gov.Sarah Palin's ramblings on Russia when she ran for vice president in 2008.
But the concern goes deeper. To say "Yes" was an unqualified statement that Mr. Trump would, indeed, recognize Russia's claim to Crimea, completely backing off U.S. and international opposition to an unlawful act of aggression.
So in one careless comment, Mr. Trump signalled a radical break on a crucial matter of U.S. foreign policy about which he appears to have given no thought. Just as with his bigoted comments on Mexicans and Muslims, his indifference to nuclear proliferation, and his chilling ideas on torturing captives or slaughtering civilians, his shoot-from-the-hip approach again shows his failure, and quite possibly his inability, to appreciate the power of the presidency — and the potential consequences of ignorance in the most powerful job in the world.
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