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Trump & Russia - might be a good thing?

Posted by on Feb. 15, 2017 at 5:41 PM
  • 10 Replies

I don't like Trump, and certainly wouldn't have voted for him, if I'd been in America.

Nor do I think his close ties with Russia are healthy for America's system of government.

BUT

Maybe there's an opportunity here?


If Trump's relationship with Russia is strong enough for the Russian military to trust Trump, and for Trump to trust them, then maybe (just maybe) putting American boots on the ground in Syria might not turn out to be a disaster.

It would come at a price, but let's at least look at the scenario:

  • Trump issues a statement backing the legitimacy of Assad's government of Syria.
  • Assad sends a formal invitation for America to send in its troops, for a fixed duration (eg 2 years), which America does.
  • America teams up with Russian and Assad's forces to kick ISIS out of Syria.
  • Russia gives America lots of the credit, and good press photo opportunities.
  • Assad promises to turn a new leaf, and respect human rights and ditch his chemical weapons.
  • America leaves, with a victory parade from a grateful and peaceful population.
  • Refugees get welcomed back.
  • Assad remains solidly in power, with Russian forces still there, backing him up.


What does Assad get out of it: All of Assad's other opponents (eg the Kurds) tragically get wiped out during the fighting.

What does Russia get out of it: suppress the Muslim extremists (who are causing problems in ex-soviet states), and cement its power base in the Middle East, with Syria remaining its client state.

What does America get out of it: Set back for ISIS, fewer refugees, guaranteed re-election for Trump.

What does the rest of the world get out of it: Set back for ISIS, fewer refugees

by on Feb. 15, 2017 at 5:41 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Donna6503
by Gold Member on Feb. 15, 2017 at 6:13 PM
Clair in order for your plan to work, the US will need to lead the EU in lifting sanctions against Russia. That would cause more chaos with the Eastern EU nations which inturn cause more instability in that part of Europe.

Also; the EU's strongest economic member, Germany would be put under more control of its energy needs by Russia. Causing another round of kickbacks from Germany to Russia which Germany doesn't have at this time.

Another reason why it's bad; Iran, this would put the US siding with Iran in its (cold) war with Saudis. It would have US siding with Iran in this conflict, but asking for the Saudis helped in enforcing actions against Iran when US interest are involved. That's a diplomatic nightmare that no one in this Administration could handle.
Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Feb. 15, 2017 at 6:22 PM


Quoting Donna6503: Clair in order for your plan to work, the US will need to lead the EU in lifting sanctions against Russia. That would cause more chaos with the Eastern EU nations which inturn cause more instability in that part of Europe.

I think Trump sees the splitting up of the EU as an acceptable loss, or even as something desirable.

Getting rid of the EU as a power block would allow America to dictate terms in individual trade pacts with former members, set them against each other, make them compete.

And Russia would certainly like it if the anti-EU forces in the Netherlands, France, etc won.

The long term down side for America would be a weakening of NATO and its main diplomatic (and financial) ally of the last 50 years in spreading democracy and capitalism through the world.

China would shed no tears.

Donna6503
by Gold Member on Feb. 15, 2017 at 6:36 PM
While, I think Trump is an idiot, I don't see any of his staff taking that view. Yet; it maybe too early to accept that view I just stated.

China prefer instability in that part of the region; it allows them to be the stability mark for Asia and prevents those Asian tigers countries an ally in their growth against China dominants.

I will say this; your opinion is an interesting one, you have always been able to put a unique spin on things, I always have liked that about you.

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting Donna6503: Clair in order for your plan to work, the US will need to lead the EU in lifting sanctions against Russia. That would cause more chaos with the Eastern EU nations which inturn cause more instability in that part of Europe.

I think Trump sees the splitting up of the EU as an acceptable loss, or even as something desirable.

Getting rid of the EU as a power block would allow America to dictate terms in individual trade pacts with former members, set them against each other, make them compete.

And Russia would certainly like it if the anti-EU forces in the Netherlands, France, etc won.

The long term down side for America would be a weakening of NATO and its main diplomatic (and financial) ally of the last 50 years in spreading democracy and capitalism through the world.

China would shed no tears.

AdrianneHill
by Silver Member on Feb. 17, 2017 at 11:15 AM
1 mom liked this
I'll bump it but I'm wary. And cynical. I think trump would gladly break up the eu because it's easier to play countries off each other than it is to deal with a united European economy
Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Feb. 17, 2017 at 12:08 PM

The pull of Putin

  • 15 February 2017

Russian President Vladimir PutinImage copyrightADAM BERRY/GETTY IMAGES

Donald Trump's willingness to build better relations with Russia is threatening to turn US foreign policy on its head. His openness towards Vladimir Putin has dismayed most of the foreign policy establishment in Washington. But it's now shared by some European politicians, not all of them far-right extremists, in France, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. They can't all be Kremlin agents - so what's the new pull of Putin for some in the West?

The two politicians, one American, one Russian, put down their drinks and clasped hands across the pub table. Then they both pushed. But there was no real contest.

The arm-wrestling match was over in a second and the winner was the deputy mayor of St Petersburg, a man who'd built up his strength through years of judo training. Few outside Russia had ever heard of him. But five years later he would become its president.

US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher still laughs when he recalls his brief duel with Vladimir Putin in 1995, when the Russian came over in an official delegation. He hasn't met Mr Putin since. But for many years he's been the most consistent voice for détente on Capitol Hill, often effectively in a minority of one.

"I don't see Putin as a good guy, I see him as a bad guy. But every bad guy in the world isn't our enemy that we have to find ways of thwarting and beating up," Congressman Rohrabacher says.

"There are a lot of areas where this would be a better world if we were working together, rather than this constant barrage of hostility aimed at anything the Russians are trying to do."

Mr Rohrabacher doesn't condone Russian hacking during the US election campaign or the Kremlin's military incursions into Ukraine. But he believes Russia is the victim of Western double standards.

US Congressman Dana RohrabacherImage copyrightCHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionUS Congressman Dana Rohrabacher believes the West should co-operate more with Russia

And that view is shared by some Western experts on Russia, though the vast majority stress how aggressive the country has become under President Putin.

Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent, in the UK, is in the minority camp. "We are living in a huge echo chamber which only listens to itself," he says. "The key meme is 'Russian aggression' and it's repeated ad nauseam instead of thinking.

"When we have national interests, that's good. But when Russia tries to defend its interests, it's illegitimate, it's aggressive, and it's dangerous for the rest of the world."

Russia's 2014 takeover of Crimea and military support of separatists in eastern Ukraine is widely taken as evidence that Mr Putin seeks to extend his country's borders.

But Prof Sakwa sees the Ukrainian crisis as a symptom of the failure after the Cold War to establish a new international security system that would have included Russia.

Meanwhile Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies at New York University, argues that the "vilification" of President Putin in the West stems originally from disappointment that the Russian leader turned his back on some of the Western-inspired reforms of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin: reforms that many Russians blame for the lawlessness and falling living standards of that period.

"Putin is a European man trying to rule a country that is only partially European," Cohen says. "But we demand that the whole world be on our historical clock."

Boris Yeltsin and President Putin in 2001Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionDid President Putin turn his back on Boris Yeltsin's reforms?

Prof Cohen is a rare liberal voice for detente. Most Americans who want better relations with Russia are on the political right.

Some are neo-isolationists who dislike what they see as their country's attempts to "export democracy", whether to Iraq, Syria or Russia. In that, they're at one with the Kremlin, which opposes any outside interference in the affairs of sovereign states.

Others are "strategic realists" who argue that great powers, including Russia, will always have "spheres of influence" beyond their borders.

America's Monroe Doctrine sought to prevent outside military and political involvement in the New World.

The opposite argument is that independent states have the right to belong to whatever alliances they like. Most former Soviet-bloc countries in Eastern Europe joined NATO and the EU after the Cold War.

And some present and former leaders of those states have warned Trump that any attempt to strike a grand bargain with Mr Putin would endanger the region's security.

But one central European government - Hungary's - takes a different view. "We don't see Russia as a threat to Hungary," its foreign minister Peter Szijjarto says. "If Russia and the US cannot work together on global issues, then that undermines security in Eastern Europe."

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter SzijjartoImage copyrightISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionHungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says his country doesn't regard Russia as a threat

Hungary also wants to end the Western sanctions imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea. It says they've been counter-productive, leading to Russian counter-sanctions which have damaged European export industries.

Peter Toth, head of the Hungarian association of breeders of mangalica pigs - whose fat is much prized in Russia - says his members are among those now suffering.

But the Hungarian government, which has been widely criticised for curtailing some democratic checks and balance, also shares other interests with Russia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said Europe must keep its "Christian values" in the face of immigration from Muslim countries.

The Kremlin has also made much of the need to preserve national identity and Christian values in its rhetoric, leading nationalists in the West to see Moscow as an ally.

Many, particularly on the right, believe the threat from mass immigration, and terrorism, is now greater than that from Russia.

Congressman Rohrabacher says: "To say Russia is the enemy, when they too are threatened by radical Islamic terrorism, is exactly the wrong way to go."

Arguments like that, reinforced by President Trump, seem to be swaying some Americans. By the end of last year, more than a third of Republican voters viewed President Putin favourably, according to a YouGov poll, compared to only a tenth in 2014.

It found however that Democrats dislike Mr Putin more than ever. Prof Stephen Cohen believes Donald Trump will have great difficulty selling a new policy on Russia.

"If Trump says we need a detente with Putin for the sake of our national security," he explains, "it's going to be very hard to get people in the centre and the left to support it, because they'll be called apologists for Putin and Trump. It's a double whammy."

Tim Whewell's BBC Radio 4 programme, The Pull of Putin, is available to listen to via BBC iPlayer.

cellomom26
by Member on Feb. 18, 2017 at 1:16 PM
I think you make some good points.
pvtjokerus
by Gold Member on Feb. 20, 2017 at 2:31 PM

Clair, I do admit I enjoy most of your post.  You always bring a fresh, intellectual spin to things.  While a U.S. and Russia alliance would be a good thing for all unfortunately, as long as Putin is in office it would be a slippery alliance.  Regardless, sometimes it takes getting into bed with the enemy in order to combat a growing cancer.  You may be onto something in your post........

pvtjokerus
by Gold Member on Feb. 20, 2017 at 2:32 PM

Come on....Trump is no where near a 'George Soros.'  

Quoting AdrianneHill: I'll bump it but I'm wary. And cynical. I think trump would gladly break up the eu because it's easier to play countries off each other than it is to deal with a united European economy


Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Feb. 28, 2017 at 3:24 PM

Russia and U.S. Clash Over Syria in Security Council Vote

UNITED NATIONS — Russia and the Trump administration clashed in a vote at the United Nations Security Council for the first time on Tuesday, as the Kremlin vetoed a measure backed by the Americans to punish Syria for using chemical weapons.

While the Russians had long signaled their intent to block the resolution, which was supported by dozens of countries, including the United States, the clash offered insights into the big divides that remain between the Kremlin and President Trump, who has vowed to improve ties.

The vote in the 15-member council was nine in favor and three against. Opponents included Russia and China, two of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Council, and Bolivia, a nonpermanent member. Three nonpermanent members — Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan — abstained.

It was the Kremlin’s seventh Security Council veto in defense of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria over the war that has been convulsing his country for nearly six years.

The American ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, who has called chemical weapons attacks in Syria “barbaric,” accused Russia and China of putting “their friends in the Assad regime ahead of our global security” in her blunt rebuke of the vetoes.

“It’s a sad day for the Security Council when members make excuses for other member states killing their own people,” she said in the Council chambers.

The resolution, proposed by Britain and France months ago and endorsed by the United States last week, would have imposed sanctions on a handful of Syrian military officials and entities for having dropped chlorine-filled barrel bombs on opposition-held areas on at least three occasions in 2014 and 2015, according to a United Nations panel.

Russia’s envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, defended the veto, calling the resolution “politically biased” and asserting that Russia’s concerns about the draft language had not been addressed. “This is railroading the draft by the Western troika,” he said.

China’s ambassador, Liu Jieyi, recalling the now-discredited American warnings of Iraq’s “so-called W.M.D.s” in 2003, criticized the resolution as an example of “hypocrisy” by the Western powers. “It was forced through to a vote while Council members still have differences,” he said. “This is in no way helpful to finding a solution.”

Chlorine is banned as a weapon under an international treaty that Mr. Assad’s government signed in 2013.

The arguments and vote over the resolution were important because they provided new insight into how Mr. Trump, who has made clear his intent to improve ties with Russia, would deal with the Kremlin over the Syria war. Russia is Mr. Assad’s most important foreign ally.

The conflict over the resolution was in sharp contrast to a Russian-American consensus on the need to contain Syria’s use of chemical weapons. After a sarin gas attack on a suburb of Damascus in August 2013, Moscow and Washington struck a deal to force Mr. Assad to sign the chemical weapons treaty and dismantle his stockpile of the poisonous munitions under international supervision.

The Syrian government, though, violated the deal, according to a United Nations panel set up by the Security Council, known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism. It found that the government had used chemical weapons at least three times.

Russia helped to create the panel but questioned its findings when it implicated the Syrian government. The panel also found that Islamic State militants in Syria used mustard gas in August 2015.

Moscow made clear last week that it would defeat the draft measure to impose sanctions on the Syrian government, calling it unbalanced. The Russian veto signaled how far Russia was willing to go to shield its ally in Damascus.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reinforced his opposition on Tuesday, adding that any Security Council penalties on the Syrian government would complicate diplomatic efforts underway in Geneva aimed at halting the war.

“As for sanctions against the Syrian leadership, I think the move is totally inappropriate now,” he told a news conference while visiting Kyrgyzstan. “It does not help, would not help the negotiation process. It would only hurt or undermine confidence during the process.”

Human Rights Watch concluded in a recent report that the Syrian military had not only violated its promises not to use chemical weapons but had systematically dropped chlorine bombs in the final weeks of the battle to take the northern city of Aleppo last fall.

Mr. Trump repeatedly has expressed admiration for Mr. Putin and said he wanted to strike a deal with him to stop the war in Syria and focus on fighting terrorism. But disagreements within Mr. Trump’s administration appear to have complicated that goal.

Ms. Haley has taken a hard line against Russia. She condemned what she called Russia’s “aggressive actions” in eastern Ukraine, vowed to maintain sanctions related to the Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and in her Senate confirmation hearing, went as far as saying that Russia was guilty of war crimes in Syria.

Her comments on Russia, often directly contradicting her boss, echo the talking points of the previous administration of Barack Obama, but they also reflect the concerns of Republicans in Congress, who distrust the Kremlin.

Ms. Haley was in Washington on Monday for meetings at the White House. A former governor of South Carolina, she has by her own admission limited foreign policy experience.

She has so far kept her comments limited to a handful of foreign policy issues that plainly deliver political dividends at home. She has maintained a tough line on Russia and Iran, pledged to defend Israel, and promised more oversight into how American funding for the United Nations is spent.

She has said nothing about the Trump administration’s travel ban on refugees and visa applicants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, hascriticized.

Ms. Haley, an American of Indian descent who grew up in a small South Carolina town, also has been silent on the attack on two Indian engineers in Kansas last week, which was suspected to be a hate crime and which threatens to cloud Indian-American relations.


SOURCE

Pema_Jampa
by Emerald Member on Feb. 28, 2017 at 3:43 PM

Right George Soros hasn't killed people.

Quoting pvtjokerus:

Come on....Trump is no where near a 'George Soros.'  

Quoting AdrianneHill: I'll bump it but I'm wary. And cynical. I think trump would gladly break up the eu because it's easier to play countries off each other than it is to deal with a united European economy



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