Donald Trump admires Vladimir Putin and wants better a partnership with Russia.
Hillary Clinton has compared Putin with Hitler, and is willing to risk war with Russia.
This is a big difference, and an important campaign issue.
With Hillary Clinton, you have the likelihood of more war and useless bloodshed, and the real possibility of a nuclear that will leave much of North American and northern Eurasia in smouldering, radioactive ruins.
With Donald Trump, you have the likelihood of a President of the United States, whose judgment is erratic to begin with, and who is under the influence of a wily and ruthless foreign ruler.
I don’t agree with either, but, of the two, I think Clinton represents the greater danger. Russian influence could be checkmated and rooted out. A nuclear war would be the end of everything.
Donald Trump has long-standing business relationships in Russia, top advisers have connections with Russia and Trump himself says things pleasing to Vladimir Putin.
The Washington Post and New York Times have reported that Trump’s enterprises, such as the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, depend on investment by wealthy Russians. This is important, because Trump isn’t regarded as credit-worthy by U.S. banks.
Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was communications adviser to Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Russian prime minister of Ukraine, who was ousted in a coup orchestrated by Victoria Nuland, U.S. undersecretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and now rumored to be Hillary Clinton’s choice for Secretary of State.
Carter Page, Trump’s adviser on European and Russian policy, did a lot of work for Gazprom, the government controlled Russian state oil monopoly.
Trump, for his part, admires Putin for being a strong leader. He advocates joining forces with Putin to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups. He says that if NATO is necessary for the defense of Europe, Europeans should pay their share of the cost. His supporters insisted the Republican platform omit a plank favoring U.S. arms for the Ukrainian government.
All these things sound reasonable to me, except for the strong leader part, since part of it is that so many of Putin’s critics and opponents wind up dead or in prison.
What bothers me is not Trump’s Russia policy on Russia, but the possibility of the Russian government interfering in U.S. politics. The following video is by Alexander Dugin, a member of Russia’s radical right.
What brought this to a head is hacking of the Democratic National Committee e-mails and their publication on Wikileaks. Circumstantial evidence points to Russians having done this.
But as I think about it, I wonder why the Russian FSB wouldn’t have been smart enough to cover its tracks. Could it have been a false flag operation by some other entity—China? Israel? It would be a smart way to discredit Trump or cause trouble between the USA and Russia or both. Right at this moment, I don’t know what to think.
It is easy to understand why Putin would prefer Trump to Hillary Clinton. She has compared Putin to Hitler and says he is a threat to world peace. She says the Baltic states and Poland are threatened with invasion as they were by the Soviet Union in 1939.
But Stalin—who, I agree, was an evil dictator—was trying to keep German troops at some distance from the Soviet heartland. Putin has not said or done anything to indicate he plans to invade the Baltic states or Poland. Conceivably he might if he thought Russia was in danger of attack from the soil of any of these countries.
But it is the United States, not Russia, whose leaders claim to head the world’s only super-power and whose military’s avowed goal is “full spectrum dominance” worldwide..
Secretary of State James Baker, in the administration of the elder George Bush, promised Mikhail Gorbachev that if the countries of eastern Europe were freed from Soviet domination, they would not be made part of an anti-Russian alliance.
It was Bill Clinton who extended the anti-Russian NATO alliance eastward in violation of Baker’s promise. Victoria Nuland, who is now Hillary Clinton’s likely candidate for Secretary of State, engineered the coup in Ukraine that brought an anti-Russian government into power.
The Obama administration, with Clinton’s support, is creating a missile defense system on Russia’s borders that Russians fear could make their country vulnerable to a surprise attack.
The US also is waging economic warfare against Russia.
If Putin is trying to undermine the unity of NATO, it is easy to understand why. Why would a Russian leader not want to break up an anti-Russian alliance?
I do not admire Putin or Putinism, and I’m glad I do not live in Russia. But I don’t see how any benefit to Russia, the USA or anybody else in waging a new cold war against Russia. Rather I see danger of a real war. On this important issue, Trump is the lesser evil.
But whichever candidate wins, it’s going to be a long four years.
Trump and Putin
Trump and Putin: Yes, It’s Really a Thing by Josh Marshall for Talking Points Memo.
Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin by Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Heiderman and Michael Birnbaum for the Washington Post.
Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West, and it looks a lot like Donald Trump by Franklin Foer for Slate.
Trump’s Putin Fantasy by Timothy Snyder for the New York Review of Books.
The Trump-Putin Fallacy by Masha Gessen for the New York Review of Books.
Clinton and Russia
The Bigger Nuclear Risk: Trump or Clinton? by Robert Parry for Consortiumnews.
Vladimir Putin’s Bad Blood With Hillary Clinton by Simon Shuster for Time.
The War Risk of Hillary Clinton by Michael Brenner for Consortiumnews.
The DNC hack
All Signs Point to Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack by Thomas Rid for Vice News Motherboard.
If Russian Intelligence Did Hack the DNC, the NSA Would Know, Snowden Says by Robert Mackey for The Intercept. This includes a critique of Julian Assange’s interpretation of the leaks. [added 7/29/2016]
Trumputin! And the Leaks by Peter Lee for China Matters.
NSA Whistleblower: Not So Fast on Claims Russia Is Behind Hillary Clinton Hack on Washington’s Blog.
Note: Alexander Dugin video added 7/28/2016. Internal links concerning Victoria Nuland added 7/20/2016.