Thursday, July 12, 2018

Will Putin Give Trump an A For Effort? Hardly.

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
And the Flaming Dumpster World Tour continues apace.
     The only thing that's not difficult to recognize regarding Trump's unique brand of foreign diplomacy (aka "We're America, Bitches!") is Donald Trump's ongoing jihad against all of our allies, including the 29 at the recent NATO summit at Brussels and fracture the all-important Western alliance standing between us and the ever baleful shadow of Putin's Russia. But don't believe me- this is how Russian state TV sees it, as well.
     Forget for a minute that Trump's attempts at this, from walking away from the G7 communique, to the Iran nuclear deal, to the Paris Climate Accord and threatening to walk away from the World Trade Organization, are doomed to failure. The most important fact is that virtually everything Trump attempts in isolating us from that same Western Alliance have one thing in common-
     They can only benefit Vladimir Putin, with whom he's publicly yet secretly meeting later this month in Helsinki.
     Even Trump doesn't seem interested in hiding it, not that he ever has. In fact, Russian asbestos is on its way to the US with Trump's jiggling puss on the shrink wrap. The fact is, in this sick, geopolitical version of Brokeback Mountain, Trump just can't quit Putin yet reserves his special venom for those countries that tolerate his childish tantrums the least (Canada and Germany, especially).
     And now, it seems even senators in Trump's own hijacked party are backing away from him like Sean Spicer into the bushes. Of course, they're not criticizing him as they had Obama when he was overseas but now that the fat cat's away, they're signaling that all is not well in the Russia House. Take the GOP delegation that patriotically spent the 4th of July in Moscow. They essentially laid down the law for those nine Republican senators-
     There was no collusion.
     The sanctions aren't hurting us.
     But we want them removed.
     In fact, the Russians thought so little little of Trump's stooges that during a 10 1/2 hour meeting, they served them just water and coffee but no food. If they were at an actual employee performance review, they would've been fired on the spot and escorted out of the building. Once they returned to DC, Shelby found part of his spine and reiterated the GOP's hard line stance that our elections are not be meddled with (I know, I laughed at that, too.).
     John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), one of the least mendacious bastards in the Senate GOP caucus, had harsher words for Moscow. He's the one who broke the news that the Russia meeting wasn't the group hug that concluded with a rendition of "Kumbaya." “I think the sanctions are hurting them badly both in terms of their pocketbooks and in terms of their status in the world," Kennedy said, "I don’t want to over-state this, but these were very tense meetings.”
     And now Trump has to slouch toward Helsinki to get the one employee performance review that actually counts.

Nine (Impotently) Angry Men
As with the diminutive Putin, officials from a Russia greatly diminished since their USSR heyday were barking orders at those whom they saw as being endlessly servile to Trump. And there's reason for the Russians to adopt that perception, considering how endlessly and nauseatingly puzzomous the Party of Personal Responsibility has been to Trump. Yet they essentially thought they could bark at nine US Senators and get their way and Republicans such as John Kennedy came back feeling confused.
     They essentially demanded that all sanctions be lifted and that they wouldn't have to change their behavior in the Ukraine or Syria. Oh and there was no collusion, comrades.
     In response, the Senate passed a non-binding measure but one with broad bipartisan support condemning Russia for annexing the Crimea in 2014. They also passed another useless non-binding measure that would stop Trump from using national security as a catch-all excuse for his insane tariff war. And in a small surprise, after Trump's predictably disastrous trip to Brussels, both chambers of Congress passed with, again, broad bipartisan consensus support for NATO.
     It was the gingerly-moving Congress' version of an intervention with Trump, albeit one held at considerable remove, informing him of how the world is supposed to be run. Of course, Trump will ignore these measures, especially as they're nonbinding, because he prefers to run his corner of the world by his not inconsiderable gut. And you can't run an effective intervention when the subject is still footloose and fancy-free. You might as well hold that intervention on Skype that can be terminated with the closing of a laptop monitor.
     But Putin's no idiot. He knows our midterms are coming up in less than four months and that there's a very good chance that Trump's party (as per presidential tradition) will lose one or both chambers of Congress, making it much harder for Trump to do anything for the Big Guy in Moscow. And Putin's reading the tea leaves and making note of even the harmless bipartisan measures taken by our Congress while Trump's out of town.
     And you can bet he'll be giving Trump a private dressing down in Helsinki. "What about those sanctions?" "Why can't you control your stooges?" "What's this about us withdrawing from Syria and the Crimea?" "Why do you think I spent so much to get you elected?" So it's just as well Trump's refusing to allow anyone but translators for his little confab with his boss.

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