Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to US President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg in July 2017. Photo: Carlos Barria/ Reuters

On Tuesday, the US government imposed sanctions on Russians accused of exporting oil to North Korea. The same day, the State Department blamed Russia for supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

These sanctions are the latest example of escalating tensions between Russia and the United States that undermine the theory President Donald Trump is acting in Putin’s interests.

If Trump is a stooge of Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchy, why is it that Russia’s economy has tanked in the past 6 months?

And why is it that the most anti-Russian country in Europe, Poland, has been one of the best performers in Europe over the same period?

Over the past 6 months, the Moscow Exchange, Russia’s largest stock market, has fallen 11%. In the same period, the Polish Warsaw Stock Exchange has gained 6%. In February, Russia was the worst-performing stock market in the world and Poland was the second best.

Meantime, many on the Left have alleged that Trump is actively working to further Russian interests through US foreign policy.

A counter to that is the example of the US missile strike on Syria in April of 2017, a direct attack on an ally of the Russian government.

And, let’s not forget, the strike was not only against Trump’s non-interventionist foreign policy, but he did it for the sake of humanitarianism, not national interest, which goes against the fundamental foreign policy ideology Trump ran on.

To some, this was simply another example of the much-alleged (but little-verified) Unholy Alliance between Trump and Putin.

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell alleged at the time of the strike that the chemical weapons attack was orchestrated by Putin so that Trump could have a foreign policy victory.

Examples of Trump and Putin working against each other’s interests, are, apparently, further evidence of their conspiracy.

Examples of Trump and Putin working against each other’s interests, are, apparently, further evidence of their conspiracy.

If Trump were trying to help the Russian government, would the US have taken part in massive war games in Eastern Europe last month? Or re-deployed nearly 5,000 American soldiers to the Baltic states?

In response, Russia moved significant numbers of troops to its Western borders. “These tensions are part of an expanding rivalry and military buildup, with echoes of the Cold War, between Washington and Moscow,” according to the New York Times.

Were he and Putin cohorts, Trump wouldn’t have signed the Senate sanctions bill; while he did so reluctantly, he still signed it, and his stated objection to the bill was that it encroached on executive power, not that it punished Russia.

After it was signed, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called it a “declaration of economic war.”

According to Medvedev, the bill “ended hopes for improving our relations with the new administration,” and the US establishment had “outwitted” Trump.

This is not exactly the rhetoric one would expect from the Russian government if one bought into the left-wing narrative on Trump-Russia.

Trump is also directly undermining Russian economics interests by liberalizing the US energy sector; oil prices have declined 11% over the past six months.

Were Trump determined to put Russian interests first, his administration would be functioning very differently.

There would be no visit to Poland, a Russian foe. There would be no affirmation of NATO, an explicitly anti-Russian military alliance.

There would be no call to defend “Western civilization,” a sociopolitical concept that excludes Russia. There would be no targeting of Assad in Syria, nor tightening of relations with the Sunni Arab world.

And there certainly would not be an American military buildup on Russia’s borders.

Jerry Bowyer is President of Bowyer Research. Charles Bowyer is Political Risk Analyst at the same company. The firm consults on portfolios that hold positions in both Russian and Polish equity indices. For more information on indices click here.