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How to rescue Trump – and make up with Putin

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, May 18th, 2017 - 22 comments
Categories: defence, Donald Trump, Europe, International, us politics - Tags:

I have little doubt now that Vladimir Putin has now done an effective job on President Trump. A little needling here, a substantial incursion and land take there, a good poke at a weak administration, and then sit back at the ice hockey and let history slide.

Further, with President Trump explicitly alienating his security and diplomatic agencies, those agencies he needs the most to rescue international stability will need a policy plan and some targets to work to.

So, my little advice today is to the U.S. security collective. How to work with their government and achieve something positive with Donald Trump, by:

  1. Formally announcing that the United States and Russia form an accord to limit cyber attacks against civilian targets in peacetime. And while they are at it, further confirm that “Uncontaminated One Person One Vote” democracy should be affirmed. That would mean the whole U.S. security establishment especially the CIA would have to de-claw itself, and the subtext is that they apologise to each other.
  2. President Trump should immediately reaffirm that the defence of all NATO states is Washington’s highest European priority. Trump can see the good in this already, coming out smiling and waving with Turkey’s President Erdogan this week (after all, if he only dealt with clean tyrants, he might run out of leaders to talk to).
  3. Sustaining U.S. troop deployments in Poland, while emphasising the deployments’ legitimacy under past international agreements with Moscow. Merkel and Tusk should be strongly encouraged to remind everyone that these deployments – and those in the Baltics – are lower than what Russia itself agreed as being legitimate in 1999. If Trump wanted to push the boat out with his Joint Chiefs, he could promise to shift the U.S. ballistic defence system out of Poland and onto U.S. soil alone if Iran keeps to its nuclear non-proliferation agreement. Make it nothing to do with Russia.
  4. Openly support China’s Belt and Road initiative, and encourage European leaders to do the same. European leaders have been inconsistent and that’s dumb. Great for U.S. firms to bid on, good for the global trade economy without forcing too-hard multilateral trade agreements, and builds a further ally in common interest (who happens to surround Russia).
  5. Pouring rebuilding support into Iraq and into the Kurds. Mosul will fall shortly and ISIS will scatter into suburban cells. Firstly to shore massively damaged societies up against Syria and Isis and Turkey. And secondly a signal to Russia that Syria is the extent of their reach.
  6. Inviting Putin to co-host a post-Syrian War reconstruction conference. As if a country so devastated needed the equivalent of its own Marshall Plan. And add some funding to it.

The tougher bits that follow may need to be left to Rex, since his calm and commercial killer would enable the State Department to treat the Russian state with respect even if tensions rise. Trump’s capacity for emotional control is uneven, and Putin’s proxies continue to exploit that. Putin is to Trump what Necratizing Fasciitis is to a man with one leg: not very helpful to getting about.

Some may think that the above somewhat lowers the bar on the diplomatic capacity of the U.S. President. Some may well think that. But the threat of war is growing. That can only be resolved by hard diplomatic work.

There is still plenty of scope for President Trump to turn the Putin relationship around, if his intelligence, diplomatic, and military entities grow up, plan together, and start making their Client Number One look good.

22 comments on “How to rescue Trump – and make up with Putin ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Meanwhile, on Earth:

    Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of his briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or the knowledge of the granular details of intelligence…

    The best course of action for the USA is to impeach the flailing witless child and survive until the 2018 midterms.

    • weka 1.1

      Yes. How long does impeachment take?

        • D'Esterre 1.1.1.1

          Andre: “Nixon and Clinton played out over years.”

          Nixon was not impeached; he resigned before the process began. Like many people worldwide, I watched the TV broadcast of his resignation speech. As I recall, it was considered to be of sufficient importance to us that the NZBC broadcast it as Nixon was making it. We watched it on a TV brought to our workplace by a colleague.

          There was an earlier, unsuccessful, attempt to impeach Nixon, in 1972, over the secret bombing of Cambodia, ordered by him.

          As to Clinton, he was impeached and acquitted. The process began at the end of 1998, and he was acquitted in early 1999. We were in the US at the time of the Senate trial, and also saw the broadcast.

          There was quite a bit of dissension over the impeachment, many commentators considering the grounds insufficiently serious and pointing out the moral hypocrisy of many of the politicians screaming for his impeachment. Starr may have been on surer ground with the Whitewater thing and sundry other dubious dealings by Clinton, but those matters didn’t proceed.

      • D'Esterre 1.1.2

        Weka: “How long does impeachment take?”

        He can’t be impeached unless there are grounds for impeachment. He has to have done something impeachable; that hasn’t happened.

    • Andre 1.2

      The argument for leaving the flailing witless child right where he is…

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-ask-again-do-you-want-pence_us_591c7cfbe4b0b28a33f6289d

      • keepcalmcarryon 1.2.1

        Yes exactly.
        Plus its likely not coincidental that TPP talks are somehow restarted as Trump begins to fall apart- a signal that if Trump goes, our masters still want to sell the people out to corporate interests.

        “Pence also has publicly supported the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement”

  2. dukeofurl 2

    “Openly support China’s Belt and Road initiative, and encourage European leaders to do the same. European leaders have been inconsistent and that’s dumb. Great for U.S. firms to bid on…”

    Great for US firms to bid on ? Thats laughable. Its likely to be a Chinese construction job based on the existing projects underway. For one they have the resources and expertise for major infrastructure. US cant even build a subway in New York or a rapid rail anywhere.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Or, the post-impeachment president could recognize that Putin is an antagonist, not just to US foreign policy, but even to the integrity of US elections. And French elections. And put together a few protocols to constrain him, probably including new punitive sanctions. It wouldn’t be hard to reduce Putin’s social media footprint for example.

    • Spikeyboy 3.1

      I believe that that is called censorship and is isually associated with authoritarian leaders such as Putin and Trump…

    • Ad 3.2

      Successful impeachment conviction would need 2/3 of the Senate.
      That’s a pretty tall order at the moment.
      Still, you never know.
      Maybe 2nd term.

    • D'Esterre 3.3

      Stuart Munro: “…Putin is an antagonist, not just to US foreign policy, but even to the integrity of US elections. And French elections.”

      Produce the evidence in support of this assertion, if you would be so good.

      “…including new punitive sanctions”

      Be careful what you wish for. You are aware, I assume, that Russia has benefited greatly from sanctions imposed after the US-sponsored Ukraine putsch?

      New Zealand, on the other hand, cancelled its free trade negotiations with Russia at that time. Now, New Zealand is locked out of the Russian market: our loss, not theirs.

      “It wouldn’t be hard to reduce Putin’s social media footprint…”

      Spikeyboy’s got that covered, I think.

  4. Nick 4

    TYT on Youtube had Trump buddy Roger Stone putting out the idea of Trump having Alzheimers / insanity as a legal defense. https://youtu.be/GTh5cut5S6U

  5. xanthe 5

    1 have proper independent media
    2 shut down CIA
    3 independent judiciary
    4 open dialogue with russia, syria,
    5 put FBI back on task. Federal Justice!

    that would go a long way to saving the presidency whoever holds it !

  6. D'Esterre 6

    “I have little doubt now that Vladimir Putin has now done an effective job on President Trump. A little needling here, a substantial incursion and land take there, a good poke at a weak administration, and then sit back at the ice hockey and let history slide.”

    And you have little doubt because…..? Produce the evidence, if you would be so good. And not NYT or WaPo “journalism”. Evidence is what we need.

    Xanthe: “1 have proper independent media
    2 shut down CIA
    3 independent judiciary
    4 open dialogue with russia, syria,
    5 put FBI back on task. Federal Justice!

    that would go a long way to saving the presidency whoever holds it !”

    Bang on, Xanthe! A bucketload of common sense right there. But Washington ain’t long on common sense, it seems.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-meddling-in-1996-russian-elections-in-support-of-boris-yeltsin/5568288

    I was in the university system during the 1990s. I remember the reportage of the 1996 election, read Chomsky and others on this stuff. I assumed that everybody knew about it, up to and including Washington. But it seems that Washington has a short memory. And/or it sees its own actions as unexceptionable; the end result of it is American people saying plaintively following the 9/11 attacks: “Why do they hate us?”

  7. red-blooded 7

    “And while they are at it, further confirm that “Uncontaminated One Person One Vote” democracy should be affirmed. ”

    Great – that should lead to the dumping of a inherently anti-democratic electoral college system! (Not a likely move from Trump, given that if the US went with one person, one vote, he wouldn’t be sitting in the president’s chair…)

    • garibaldi 7.1

      Good on you D’Esterre and xanthe.
      The acceptance of American Russophobia propaganda in the West, whilst ignoring the countless examples of American aggression and interference world wide, is mind boggling.
      Anyone who can’t understand that the drive by the West for war with Russia is a recipe for extermination is pretty damned stupid. Egging on Nato to be bellicose towards Russia is just as stupid. There will be no winners.

  8. D'Esterre 8

    Garibaldi: “Anyone who can’t understand that the drive by the West for war with Russia is a recipe for extermination is pretty damned stupid. Egging on Nato to be bellicose towards Russia is just as stupid. There will be no winners.”

    Exactly. I have offspring of conscriptable age, therefore a vested interest in peace. The US could be a force for good in the world, as with the Marshall Plan for post-War Europe. It’s a tragedy that it has followed the path it has since 1945. Had it taken a more Westphalian approach to foreign policy over the years, many lives would have been saved, and the world would be a very much safer place for all of us.

  9. D'Esterre 9

    1. “Formally announcing that the United States and Russia form an accord to limit cyber attacks against civilian targets in peacetime. And while they are at it, further confirm that “Uncontaminated One Person One Vote” democracy should be affirmed. That would mean the whole U.S. security establishment especially the CIA would have to de-claw itself, and the subtext is that they apologise to each other.”

    This is predicated on there having actually been cyber attacks against civilian targets – referring, presumably, to claims about Russian interference in the US elections. This has always been a wildly implausible claim, a furphy; the reasons for that have been covered by commentators with more extensive knowledge of this arena than either of us. On the other hand, US surveillance of its own citizens is extensive, intrusive and unlawful. See this: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/18/how-nsa-can-secretly-aid-criminal-cases-2/
    If anyone ought to be apologising to anyone, it is the US security services to US citizens.

    2. “President Trump should immediately reaffirm that the defence of all NATO states is Washington’s highest European priority. Trump can see the good in this already, coming out smiling and waving with Turkey’s President Erdogan this week (after all, if he only dealt with clean tyrants, he might run out of leaders to talk to).”

    No. He should return to his pre-election statements that NATO has outlived its usefulness and needs to be disestablished. The concept of a threatened Europe is a propaganda trope dating back to the ideology of Nazi Germany. It’s pushed by mainstream politicians in contemporary Europe and it’s founded on racial and religious hatred. It isn’t plausible.

    3. “Sustaining U.S. troop deployments in Poland, while emphasising the deployments’ legitimacy under past international agreements with Moscow. Merkel and Tusk should be strongly encouraged to remind everyone that these deployments – and those in the Baltics – are lower than what Russia itself agreed as being legitimate in 1999. If Trump wanted to push the boat out with his Joint Chiefs, he could promise to shift the U.S. ballistic defence system out of Poland and onto U.S. soil alone if Iran keeps to its nuclear non-proliferation agreement. Make it nothing to do with Russia.”

    The US needs to pull its troops out of all NATO countries; a fortiori out of eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Note that in 2007, Russia suspended its participation in the CFE, and on 10 March 2015, citing NATO’s de facto breach of the Treaty, Russia formally announced it was completely halting its participation in it, as of the next day. The US has not acted honourably with regard to this treaty; time to admit fault and back off.
    Demilitarisation and disarmament of Russia’s revanchist and aggressive neighbours is the necessary pre-condition of peace in Europe.

    4. “Openly support China’s Belt and Road initiative, and encourage European leaders to do the same. European leaders have been inconsistent and that’s dumb. Great for U.S. firms to bid on, good for the global trade economy without forcing too-hard multilateral trade agreements, and builds a further ally in common interest (who happens to surround Russia).”

    What I’ve read about this project, and looking at the maps, suggests that the US is being sidelined. It’s best that it refrains from sticking its nose in; unless it’s invited, of course. See this:
    http://thesaker.is/the-new-silk-road-increases-the-strategic-importance-of-karelia/

    5. “Pouring rebuilding support into Iraq and into the Kurds. Mosul will fall shortly and ISIS will scatter into suburban cells. Firstly to shore massively damaged societies up against Syria and Isis and Turkey. And secondly a signal to Russia that Syria is the extent of their reach.”

    Regarding Iraq, isn’t that what it’s supposed to have been doing for some time? Clearly not very efficacious: it looks as if the damage (in every sense) done by the US there is too great for it to have any meaningful part in any rebuild. Kurds: that might cause problems with Turkey, if the US wishes to maintain any sort of alliance there. I doubt that Russia or Syria – or Iran, come to that – has any interest at all in US attempts to wield influence in that part of the world. The US has no credibility. The west is responsible for the suffering of the middle east; the cure is the west’s departure.

    6. “Inviting Putin to co-host a post-Syrian War reconstruction conference. As if a country so devastated needed the equivalent of its own Marshall Plan. And add some funding to it.”

    As above: not for the US to issue invites to Russia or any other polity. The US has no political heft in Syria, and it has only itself to blame for that. Russia and allies are getting on with the job. Just in case you hadn’t noticed….

    • Ad 9.1

      Appreciate you thing the time to responding to the points.

      1. I know there are currently four investigations going on, but I found these useful from the US intelligence community as a starter:

      https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

      https://www.theatlantic.com/liveblogs/2017/01/senate-hearing-russian-hacking/512219/13163/

      https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/01/russian-hacking-trump/510689/

      There are plenty more to come once all the subpoenas are done.

      2. I don’t understand your dislike of NATO. If I were a current citizen of the Ukraine, Syria, or Georgia, I would see the need for some security compact larger than myself, from Russia. For those countries that went through the Cold War, they would not want to give up security guarantees too easily.

      Living memory about security and repelling communist totalitarianism would recommend ongoing wariness of Russia in countries such as Greece, Germany, Finland, the Czech state – even Austria and Italy got very close to falling within the Russian sphere. Of course the Soviet reach fell nearly thirty years ago, but peace isn’t sustained through absence of force alone.

      3. I can understand that people are highly skeptical about having US troops stationed anywhere in the world given their track record over the last fifty years. And I have no particular desire to defend their track record. But I don’t think that’s enough of an argument to withdraw the security of small states without asking if that’s what they want first.

      4. Just disagree. The US needs to find a reason to engage with China that is constructive and good for trade across the whole world. Belt and Road is going to be even more powerful than the stupid TPPA.

      5. I would argue that no, the U.S. has put more into military assistance and not enough into the basic societal building blocks of the place it has helped wreck. And that should completely change.

      6. “Not for the US to issue invites…”?
      Issuing invites is the essence of diplomacy. There really are a set of larger states whose power in the world should be harnessed to do good. They and their influence are not going away. All the better if they can reach out to other such states.

      I completely understand the impulse to tell the US to simply shut up, withdraw from the world in all senses, and leave the entire world alone. And no one needs to determine whether the US is ‘worth saving’, because the US is going to continue in its current path whatever we think or evaluate it to be.

      But there are still practical steps it can take, with a united intelligence, military, and diplomatic community, that amount to a lot of good. Dare I say it, even under Trump.

  10. D'Esterre 10

    Ad: Many thanks for your response. It is much appreciated. To respond to your points:-

    1. Nobody – I assume – imagines that Russia and the US don’t routinely spy on each other, as well as on the rest of us. But the claims of interference in the US election are a whole other thing. I found nothing in those links that proffered anything further by way of proof. You can bet your boots that US intel would already know if this had happened. And so would we… Absent anything substantive, we can conclude that – as has been pointed out by many others – there’s no evidence at all. Anything produced from now on that purports to be evidence ought to be consigned to the “weapons of mass destruction” bin.
    Hillary Clinton has a well-known bee in her bonnet about Russia and Putin. Screaming “Russia dunnit!” is a convenient way of dodging the blame for her and her party’s own miserable incompetence in failing to figure out which votes they needed for her to win the presidency. As she will be well aware, a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth for some people.

    2. “I don’t understand your dislike of NATO. If I were a current citizen of the Ukraine, Syria, or Georgia, I would see the need for some security compact larger than myself, from Russia. For those countries that went through the Cold War,”
    Crikey! This is a big topic; to understand the complexities here, it’s necessary to go back to history, not just that of the last war, but centuries back into European history. A thumbnail response: the threat comes – and has always come – from Europe to Russia, not the other way about. Remember what history shows. NATO was a construct, established to protect western Europe during the Cold War, which has been over since 1991; it’s long past time to disestablish NATO. In any event, the threat from the former Soviet Union was largely illusory, as history shows.
    The current mess in the Ukraine – including the secession of the Crimea and the dire state of the Donbass – is a direct result of US meddling in its internal political affairs. Likewise Syria: the US has long conducted a campaign of destabilisation aimed at the Assad government. The current situation is in no small measure a consequence of that campaign. As for Georgia: it was almost entirely due to its own stupidity that it blundered into a conflict with Russia. Go read about it; there’s quite a bit of information online.

    3. It suits the US to have troops stationed in other countries, particularly in Europe. How destabilising would it be if it were forced to repatriate all those soldiers? We have family in Europe: from what we’ve been told and heard for ourselves, the political elites’ enthusiasm for foreign soldiers being based in their countries isn’t necessarily shared by the citizens. That’s also true in Japan and south Korea, and we see reportage of it here from time to time.

    4. It remains to be seen whether China welcomes US involvement in the Silk Road project. It will go ahead regardless; I suspect that if there is US participation, it will be on China’s terms.

    5. It is questionable whether the US can have any role at all in the reconstruction of Iraq. We may think that it ought to, given how much destruction it’s been responsible for there. But Iraqis may well have another view on that: too much bad faith over too many years.

    6. “Issuing invites is the essence of diplomacy.” Agreed. However, it’s not the US’s bailiwick regarding Syria. The west in general, and the US in particular, has been responsible for the wreckage that is now the middle east. The west needs to go, and leave others to do the cleaning up. Assad asked Iran and Russia for assistance: they gave it, and have been getting on with the job ever since, despite US attempts to white-ant their efforts. Russia may issue an invite to the US: it’s earned that prerogative, having done much of the heavy lifting in eliminating the jihadists from Syria. The US has no role in leading the reconstruction, when that stage is reached.

    “But there are still practical steps it can take, with a united intelligence, military, and diplomatic community, that amount to a lot of good. Dare I say it, even under Trump.”
    The US needs to fix its own country; that’s what Trump was saying on the campaign trail. The neocons, having taken fright at his turning away from neoliberal interventionism, have, with the enthusiastic assistance of the msm, done a job on him in an attempt to turn him back toward their worldview.

    As one member of this household says, it’s become clear that Trump is the average of the last six people he’s talked to. He’s never been a pollie, he doesn’t have a pollie’s ability to use diplomatic language. He says what he thinks. Which is, of course, why people elected him, and why the neocons and their msm hate him. If he’s to accomplish in particular his foreign policy of detente, along with his plan to reconstruct America, he’s going to need a lot of help. The Republican pollies could and should have done that; I suspect that the voters are likely to punish them at the mid-term for their failure to do so.

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