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Putin and Trump

President Donald Trump, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before him, hoped to “reset” Washington’s dismal relationship with Moscow, but that was always the longest of long shots. Vladimir Putin’s ideology and perceived national interests require the West as an enemy, and no matter how many times Trump tweets that he respects Putin’s “strength” and says it would be “a good thing” if we could get along with Russia and unite against ISIS, neither the Kremlin nor permanent Washington will allow it.

Michael Totten.

The whole article makes a lot of sense. I particularly liked the point about how Putin might be annoyed that with Trump in office, he (Putin) no longer has a perceived monopoly on being That Unpredictable Guy. I think that is a very astute observation. Putin liked being the man who was constantly messing with our heads over Syria, or Ukraine, or wherever. But if he is up against a US president who makes unpredictability part of his central appeal, that changes. Then maybe Vlad. has to change, to be more predictable in certain ways. And this whole saga also somewhat undermines the “Russian spies put The Donald into the White House” narrative, although given the self-deception and insanity I see on part of the Democrat Party and its media allies, this is likely to continue for some time.

Another couple of paragraphs:

Before long, anti-Russian sentiment in the United States could eclipse anti-Americanism is Russia. The only reason that hasn’t happened already is because so many Americans hoped for so long against hope that Russia shorn of totalitarian communism would eventually return “home” to the West like the prodigal son.

Russia, though, hasn’t been fully European since the Mongol invasion of Rus in the year 1240. Its forcible incorporation into the Golden Horde Empire endured for more than 200 years. Sure, Russia’s capital is on the European continent, but Russians see themselves as Eurasian. (North Korea and China, don’t forget, border Russia.)

Putin crafted the Eurasian Economic Union—which includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia—as an authoritarian crony state-capitalist competitor to the liberal democratic West that he detests. There isn’t a damn thing anybody in Washington can say or do to convince him to dump that project and align himself as a junior partner with the European Union and NATO, not when he’s the undisputed one-man boss of an entire continent-spanning alternative.

Totten is right, I think, that Putin had not expected Trump’s winning last autumn. He might, naively, have hoped for such a win, but I am not sure he actually expected the result. Totten is also right to point out that Putin is not some sort of chess-playing genius from From Russia With Love. He makes mistakes.


10 comments to Putin and Trump

  • Paul Marks

    The bottom line is that Mr Putin hates the West – watch his “RT” for five minutes and it is obvious.

    It twists everything – even opposition to fiat money somehow turns into opposition to privatisation of industry and hatred of Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, when Putin’s boy Max Keiser gets his hands on it.

    We can not make real deals with Russia under-the-current-Russian-leadership.

    When Mr Putin finally retires (if he ever does) things may change – we will know if “RT” stops attacking such things as the United States military.

    It is NOT “Russia” – the problem is Putin and other hangovers from the Soviet past.

  • Laird

    An interesting article, and probably right in many respects. Where I differ with Totten is in his assumption that Russia was responsible for the leak of the DNC emails (what it pleases our ignorant and left-leaning media, and unreconstructed Clinton supporters, to call “hacking” even though it was merely simple phishing and theft of passwords). There is no real evidence of that, and the Russians have steadfastly denied it. Personally, given the recent Wikileaks disclosure of CIA documents, I think it more likely than not that some element within the CIA itself (or some other sector of our immense “intelligence” community) is the culprit. And that it was they, not Putin, who were attempting to preemptively “kneecap” the presumptive Clinton administration. That doesn’t necessarily render Totten’s analysis incorrect, since along with him nearly everyone else has also bought into the “Russian-hacking” narrative and so have effectively boxed Trump into the corner Totten describes. But it does change the reasons he finds himself in that corner, and thus possibly the ultimate result. I’m not quite as pessimistic as Totten (yet).

  • Eric

    If your password is actually “p@ssw0rd”, as Podesta’s is rumored to have been, you can’t really accuse people who steal your credentials of hacking.

  • Paul Marks

    On the Clinton campaign – all very odd.

    Why so little effort in key States such as Wisconsin?

    And why such overkill in States they were going to win anyway – such as New York and California?

    It is almost as if they wanted to lose.

  • Paul Marks

    Where was the Clinton Campaign in Michigan?

    Or even the swing States of Ohio and Florida?

    Again – did they want to lose?

    Did they (not Hillary Clinton herself – but some key people) want Mr Trump and the Republicans to be in office for the Credit Bubble Bust?

  • Jib Halyard

    I doubt anti-Russian sentiment in the US will ever eclipse Russian (or other) anti-Americanism. The first is based on well-founded suspicion, the latter on burning resentment. People really do hate the West for its freedoms and prosperity. Does anyone hate Russia for its freedoms and prosperity?

  • Erik

    Jib, while I hardly hate Russia, I think you’re exaggerating a bit. In America, the Red Guards are rising and driving people off campus with violence, having supported the mainstream of ten years ago is grounds for being pushed out of your own company, professional trolls can get private businesses fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and sent to re-education seminars for not wanting to do business with the trolls, and “protesters” riot with near-impunity in various ways. Freedom and prosperity, as long as you keep your head down, your mouth shut, and don’t live near the wrong university or progressive neighborhood or black neighborhood et cetera… when the arson starts.

    I still prefer America to Russia at present, by a large margin. But America looks to be on the worse course to potentially becoming a kind of lawless, pseudo-communist North Mexico and/or falling into civil war.

  • Paul Marks

    Erik – you have a point.

    The Frankfurt School of Marxism is a particularly irritating sort of Marxism. At least Stalin and co did not go on and on about “racism” and “sexism” and the rest of the Snowflake Canon.

    Of course Stain and co did murder tens of millions of people – but Mr Putin does NOT do that (although he does murder a few people – now and then, I think he does it to keep in practice).

    Someone can not be driven from their job in Russia for saying something against “Gay Marriage” and schools and universities in Russia are not Frankfurt School of Marxism playpens. Ditto the media.

    Even in the 1930s Stalin and co showed a lot of contempt for the Frankfurt School of “Cultural” Marxism – the “Identity Politics” of modern pink-hat-wearers and so on.

    Indeed the term “Political Correctness” (now the old term of the Frankfurt School – before they switched to “Critical Theory”) was originally coined in the 1930s by Orthodox Marxists AGAINST the Frankfurt School.

    Moving from the United States to Russia?

    A bit of a extreme step – especially as I think that the Frankfurt School has had its day in the United States.

    When the Credit Bubble economy crashes (and, eventually, it must) people whining about “man spreading” or racial “micro aggressions” will go with it.

    When people are hungry and desperate they have a low tolerance level for utter and complete B.S. – which is what Frankfurt School “racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia” (and on and on) is.

  • Oh, I think you misunderstand. The cool kids have been playing go, for some time now. It does confuse the chess players, it’s true.

  • Marcopohlo

    I was recently looking at population pyramids for various nations, including Russia’s. If you’re Vladimir Putin, and you see the size of your military-age male population dropping by about a third in under ten years, while at the same time China has a large cohort of surplus military-age males, don’t you want to make friends with the United States?