Though it may be hard for many Americans to believe, our new president-elect, Donald Trump, and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, are bosom buddies. Trump has had no personal contact with Putin but seems to think that Vladimir is a good guy and someone America can do business with on the world stage. It’s reminiscent of George W. Bush saying that he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul, indicating that he could deal with Putin. This was while Putin’s troops were invading and occupying parts of Georgia.
Subsequently, Putin seized the Crimea from the Ukraine and has backed a continuing low-level war in the eastern part of the Ukraine. Just like a good guy would do. There’s also all the murders and assassinations of Putin’s opponents, both in and out of Russia. And Putin’s troops have been fighting to keep Assad in power in Syria, a mass murderer who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people.
But Trump has so far refused to accept that Russian hackers interfered in the American election, notwithstanding the intelligence community’s uniform belief that Russian hackers did steal and spread information that might have influenced the outcome. (Trump does not want to accept any data that might suggest the election was tainted any way, such as the hacking, the spread of false news that favored his campaign and blasted Hillary, the release of information from the DNC and not the RNC, even though the latter was also hacked, and so forth. Trump even says that he won the popular vote, though Hillary had almost three million more votes than he did. He claims these votes were cast by illegals.) Trump’s ego is his weak spot.
Trump claims he has inside information that shows the hacking was not from Russia, discounting what the intelligence agencies have discovered. Though he is meeting with the heads of the intelligence agencies this week to learn about the hacking, it’s something that he should have done immediately. He says they have delayed meeting with him because they don’t have the data to confirm Russia’s role. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House believe that the hacking did occur and that Russia was responsible. Many of them would like to see stronger sanctions imposed on Russia, while Trump is leaning towards removing the sanctions completely. He says that he wants to work with Russia to eliminate ISIS and does not see Russia as an adversary.
Trump has also appointed two men to vital positions in his administration who can act as matchmakers to bring Putin and Trump even closer together. The first is his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who admires Putin and has attended dinners with him and his military people in the Kremlin. (He also pushed conspiracy theories about Hillary and led Lock Her Up chants at Trump rallies.) He also received fees to speak on RT, Russia’s state television network. Flynn sees radical Islam as America’s main adversary and advocates working with Russia to destroy it. He has ignored Russia’s attempts to discredit and destroy western democracy, in addition to its aggression in some of the previous states belonging to the Soviet Union.
The other Russophile is Rex Tillerson, the former head of Exxon-Mobil. He has negotiated a host of deals with Russia’s fossil fuel companies and would like to see the sanctions lifted so that his deals could bear fruit. Tillerson, the new Secretary of State if he’s confirmed, is another buddy of Putin and would likely change American foreign policy regarding Russia.
Trump is a novice regarding foreign affairs and Putin, an ex-KGB agent, will probably play Trump like a drum if he’s given the chance. Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Russia is an extremely poor, prideful nation, and its military, its nuclear weapons, and its hackers are the only things that give it any standing in the world. It produces virtually nothing that any advanced countries desire. If Trump can get Russia to surrender the Crimea, withdraw its weapons and troops from the Ukraine and Syria, then he will be the world’s supreme deal-maker. On the other hand, if we drop the sanctions against Russia and get nothing in return, it will show that Trump is over his head in dealing with Putin and foreign affairs in general.
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