Sunday, December 24, 2017

Jeet Heer - The Dangerous Incoherence of Trump’s Russia Policy

The president wants a partnership with Vladimir Putin, but his national security leaders are pursuing aggressive containment.

Jeet Heer seems to believe the propaganda that Russia is a dangerous adversary, but this is an interesting article in that he believes Trump is still going against his administration by trying to improve relations with Russia and China.  Heer says that to balance Trump's conciliatory words towards Putin, his administration may take a more hard line position to reassure America's European allies. In other words, the Military-Industrial Complex has been whipping up non existent fears about Russia to keep the arm sales going.

On Monday, the Trump administration released its national security strategy, which portrayed Russia and China as rival superpowers. The document made the argument shared by centrist Democrats and Republicans, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government tried to subvert American democracy:

A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life.

And yet, in a speech introducing this document, Trump veered off of his prepared remarks and spoke about the need to “build a great partnership” with Russia and China. Trump also described a friendly conversation he had with Putin, who thanked the United States for recently helping to thwart a planned terrorist attack against Russia by the Islamic State. “That’s a great thing, and the way it’s supposed to work,” Trump said.

As Thomas Wright, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution, told Politico, there was a “surreal” disjunction between the explicit strategy and the president’s gloss. “The National Security Strategy and the president’s speech to launch it were worlds apart,” Wright observed. “The strategy described the Russian and Chinese challenge in great detail, but Trump barely mentioned them. Instead he made an impassioned plea for partnership with Putin, demanded allies directly reimburse the United States for protection provided, and blamed the country’s ills on immigrants and trade deals.” A White House spokesman acknowledged that he couldn’t say if Trump had read the National Security Strategy.

The divergence between Trump and his national security staff could lead both sides to become even more extreme. To balance Trump’s conciliatory words toward Putin, Mattis and Tillerson might feel the need to take more hardline positions, if only to reassure America’s European allies. And Trump, to counter this, might praise Putin even more effusively.

New Republic

Jeet Heer - The Dangerous Incoherence of Trump’s Russia Policy


Noah Way said...

Trump had three things going for him in the election. No free trade, work with Russia, and he wasn't Hillary.

But it really doesn't matter because whoever sits in that chair is either a puppet or JFK.

Tom Hickey said...

Well, Russia, China, Iran, and many others are adversaries of the US in that they oppose US global hegemony and determined to end it.

US global hegemony is the cornerstone of US policy, which implies taking down rival powers — nations and alliances.

Collision course.

Matt Franko said...

How did Russia vote on the UN resolution on US recognizing Jerusalem?

We help them thwart a terror attack and then they F us on the Jerusalem thing... F Russia then send in the Javelin anti tank missiles to Ukraine ...

Matt Franko said...

We should hold the next terror attack info back and let them kill a bunch of Russians and THEN take the time stamped info to Russia and let them know we had it but didn’t give it to them...