A Good Year For Vladimir Putin

The Democrats were loudly cheering some woman’s abortion on Wednesday during their quadrennial party convention, but Donald J. Trump wasn’t about to let them get all the attention. As usual the Republican nominee provided plenty of headline fodder in a Miami press conference, where he addressed the recent hacking and release of Democratic National Party e-mails by telling the Russian government, “Russia — if you’re listening — I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing (from the presumptive Democratic nominee’s accounting during her tenure as Secretary of State). I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

His apologists insist it was just a joke, and we’ll concede that it might well have been, as it’s always hard to tell with Trump, although we notice that he didn’t have to pause for laughs. In any case he gave his critics something to write about than all the embarrassing things that were going on at the Democratic convention, and allowed them tsk and tut and otherwise wax indignant about Trump inviting the interference of a foreign thug in an American election, persuasively argue that if it was a joke it wasn’t a very funny one, and that there’s no assurance the Russians will take it was one, despite that country’s delightfully bleak sense of humor. It also bolstered a recent conspiracy theory that the Russians were behind the hacking and released the e-mails to help Trump, and revived longstanding worry felt on both the left and right about Trump’s apparent chumminess with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, both of which he addressed with his usual un-parseable eloquence.
“Why do I have to get involved with Putin? I have nothing to do with Putin. I’ve never spoken to him. I don’t know anything about the man other than that he would respect me. He doesn’t respect our president. And if it is Russia — it’s probably not, nobody knows who it is — but if it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason, because it shows how little respect they have for our country, when they would hack into a major party and get everything.”
Which will satisfy his apologists as a perfect reasonable response, but more skeptical sorts are likely to notice that it includes an admission that his past claim before an enrapt Republican audience to have spoken with Putin as “stable mates” on the “60 Minutes” program that broadcast one interview with Putin on the eastern half of the world another with Trump in the western half was of course a ridiculous lie, an even more embarrassing admission that the Republican presidential nominee doesn’t know anything about one of America’s most formidable foreign policy foes except that the fellow will surely respect him, and an absurd insinuation that no country would ever dare think of committing espionage against an America with Trump with in charge. Oh, and that it was all a lead-up to that putative punchline about how very amusing it would be the hackers kept up this disrespectful behavior. All in all, it’s not likely to dispel any conspiracy theories or allay any suspicions about Trump’s Russian policy.
Trump might or might not have anything to do with Putin, although he has long pursued business interests in a country where Putin’s approval is needed to do almost anything, and his campaign manager has long done business with the ex-Ukrainian strong-man who was Putin’s ally and his top foreign policy advisor has long done business with the Kremlin-run natural gas monopoly that Putin wields like a cudgel against the Europeans. Throw in all of Trump’s past praise for Putin’s “strength,” his brushing off of Putin’s assassinations of journalists and political foes by saying “our country does a lot of killing, too,” his short-lived plan to outsource the Syrian problem to Putin, last week’s removal from the Republican platform of a plank to supply weapons to the anti-Russian Ukrainian fighters and Trump’s reiteration that he wouldn’t necessarily fulfill America’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations in case of a Russian attack on a member state and that he’d seriously consider recognizing Russia’s claims to Crimea, and it’s going to take some dispelling and allaying. All in all that conspiracy theory about Putin trying to influence the election in Trump’s favor seems at least as plausible as the one about Sen. Ted Cruz’ dad being in on the Kennedy assassination, even if Trump’s good friends at The National Enquirer haven’t yet provided any photographic evidence, and the rest of it suggests to our hardened Cold War sensibilities that Russo-American relations under a Trump administration won’t be at all to our liking.
On the other hand, the presumptive Democratic nominee is the same woman who offered that stupid “reset button” that emboldened Putin’s revanchist ambitions and led directly the the current mess in Ukraine and elsewhere, and the current Democratic president is the one who caught on a “hot” microphone telling a Russian diplomat that he would be even more “flexible” in a second term than he’d been in his feckless first one, and neither that Libertarian guy or that Green Party gal are at all Reagan-esque or even Romney-esque in their anti-Russkie spine, so we figure that no matter the outcome of this election Putin is going to enjoy the next four years more than will we or the rest of the non-Russian world.

— Bud Norman.


One response

  1. “Integrity Bud” is irony deprived. Can’t see sarcasm when it slaps him in the face and by misdirection supports the creature that is the author, with her master Obama, of the global foreign policy disaster that is stalking world from South America to Mexico to the Far and Near East and Europe.

    The creature who a sage has described as: “self-described feminist and Whitewater-crook who began her criminal money grubbing by taking a $100,000 bribe via bogus cattle futures trades and claiming to have done it all by reading the Wall Street Journal, who “lost” her Rose Law firm billing records for long enough to have that particular scandal blow over and who with the help of her husband sold services of the US government for hundreds of millions of dollars, got prepayment-bribes for future favors by giving short $250,000 speeches to the likes of Goldman Sachs, got a child rapist off and bragged about it, stayed married to a serial adulterer and rapist, and set up a private server in contravention of law so that the actual records of her communication while Secretary of State would never be seen by the American people.”

    Meanwhile “Intergrity Bud” the “rock-ribbed Republican” describes her as “First Lady and Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

    But to get serious for a moment it strikes us how badly stuck in the past so many people in this country are. As I enter the seventh decade of life I should be one of the people who hanker for the past. But one thing that my years on this terrestrial ball has taught me is that things are constantly changing. Czar Nicholas was not Lenin or Stalin who was not Khrushchev who’s not Putin. Russia is not the USSR and to pretend that it is is to deny reality. NATO was created to protect Western Europe from the USSR, which is no more. Should rational people – who have replaced their dial phones with iPhones – refuse to review current military alliances in view of current threats? Not if you are stuck in the past touting the benefits of the party line.

    Romney was absolutely correct that Russia is our greatest geopolitical foe, but his view was quite nuanced. Here’s his response to a question by Wolf Blitzer:

    “There’s no question but that in terms of geopolitics — I’m talking about votes at the United Nations and actions of a geopolitical nature — Russia is the No. 1 adversary in that regard. That doesn’t make them an enemy. It doesn’t make them a combatant. They don’t represent the No. 1 national security threat. The No. 1 national security threat, of course, to our nation is a nuclear Iran.”

    What “Integrity Bud” and the Democrats he’s aligned with are doing, obviously for political purposes, is to paint Russia and Putin as an enemy, something that Hillary and her master Obama ridiculed Romney for doing in 2012. This is the kind of reckless, irresponsible, jingoistic and downright stupid talk can lead to war.

    Trump, on the other hand, refuses to call Russia and Putin as the enemy of the US while recognizing that they are not allies. He’s open to making a deal that can be a win-win for both Russia and the US. The only losers would be Democrats and ISIS.

    Of course the young, like “Integrity Bud” and his ally “Crooked Hillary” may not know history and be totally unaware that Russia under the absolute – and often brutal – rule of the Czars and the United States were friendly and in some cases allies. But apparently these days we scorn getting along with anyone but Boy Scouts running countries. Meanwhile, all those non-Scouts like Putin are stealing the lunch of Hillary and her master Obama, and “Integrity Bud” if plumping for more of the same.

    And wouldn’t it be delicious if the Russians published those 30,000 “lost” Hillary e-mails and we found out if there was more there than yoga lessons? Oh, the screams of horror by Hillary, the Democrats and “Integrity Bud.”

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