Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Ugly Truth

The next episode of the Trump Show -- "Blowing Up NATO" -- is being broadcast today. Donald Trump has his script. But, if the members of the alliance hang together, it will not go as Trump has planned. NATO, however, isn't the climax. It's Trump's meeting with Putin. And there are at least a couple of reasons why Trump has made the summit with Putin the real show. To begin with, Trump and Putin are birds of a feather. Joseph Ingrham writes:

Let’s start with the two of them as mirror images of flawed personalities. Both display behaviors reflective of serious inferiority complexes – Trump driven by a life-long rejection by New York’s business and cultural elites (not to speak of a troubled and mediocre academic record) and Putin’s preoccupation with his diminutive physical stature, which seems to cause him to constantly feel the need to display his shirtless torso and his mediocre hockey skills.
Both are narcissists and pathological liars, using whatever means they can to attain their goals. In the case of Trump, this includes a persistent trail of questionable business practices and, more recently, no compunction about separating young immigrant children from their families. In the case of Putin, in all probability, it includes the practiced physical elimination of political foes, a la the KGB, and the invasion of sovereign countries as a means to creating a larger Russian dominated domain. Both men view protecting human rights as an inconvenient nuisance that only get in the way of their personal convictions and authoritarian instincts.

More than similarly dysfunctional personalities, both men share the same vision of the world:

Then there is their shared vision of the world, and the impact of globalisation – a phenomenon they both see as an existential threat to their limited appreciation of “civilization.” Rather than any empathy for cultural and sociological diversity and the need to cultivate and manage it in ways that benefit our evolving societies more widely, they both seek to limit it by slowing immigration (especially from non-white, non-Christian countries), promoting a 19th century form of nationalism (and history shows us what that can bring), and by downplaying the role of multilateralism, its institutional components, and collective solutions to global challenges.

The G7,  the European Union and NATO are diametrically opposed to that vision. The European Union is particularly offensive to both men:

The European Union — based on the values of liberal democracy and a multilateral approach that subordinates narrow nationalism to a collective identity based on shared nationalisms and humanitarianism — is anathema to both men. Instead, they aspire to a world in which the northern hemisphere is dominated by governments led by strong, white, Judeo-Christians – mainly male and heterosexual (at least officially heterosexual) – capable of preserving what western men, such as they, have built.

When the two men get together, you can bet they will discuss how they're shared project is going. And anwyway, Jonathan Chait writes in New York Magazine, Trump has been a Russian operative for a long time. That's why Trump is desperate to sink the Mueller investigation -- because Mueller now knows the whole ugly story:

The first intimations that Trump might harbor a dark secret originated among America’s European allies, which, being situated closer to Russia, have had more experience fending off its nefarious encroachments. In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies began picking up evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic states shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The contents of these communications have not been disclosed, but what Brennan learned obviously unsettled him profoundly. In congressional testimony on Russian election interference last year, Brennan hinted that some Americans might have betrayed their country. “Individuals who go along a treasonous path,” he warned, “do not even realize they’re along that path until it gets to be a bit too late.” In an interview this year, he put it more bluntly: “I think [Trump] is afraid of the president of Russia. The Russians may have something on him personally that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult.”

The question is, "How much damage will Trump do before the Ugly Truth -- all of it -- comes out?"

Image: Sputnik International


Anonymous said...

At the NATO breakfast this morning Trump went on a rant saying, “Germany is a captive of Russia” and “totally controlled by Russia." It's always pure projection with this guy.


Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Cap. It all about projection -- and a massive inferiority complex.

John B. said...

I'd thought that it was probably just that part of a negotiation of territorial rights that involves the private exchange of personal assurances between the heads of two extended crime families, but the handler-asset hypothesis makes more sense.

Owen Gray said...

As this saga goes on, John, I'm more and more convinced that Putin has something on Trump. Perhaps it's just a fool's sense of mutual interest. But something is out of joint.

Anonymous said...

I find this article meretricious. The usual, these days, progressive head up ass approach to foreign policy. Makes me wonder why I bother to attempt to be progressive, since the definition now just seems to be anti-Trump, and forget the past. The US has invaded and bombed and killed more than the Russians by far just this century, yet here is the usual drivel about Putin being so far worse. Both countries are bloody useless overall, so why differentate?

"Many liberals, if not most, and certainly the majority of Democrats are all on board to prosecute Assange. Trump very usefully serves that purpose, you see. The hatred of Trump (who seems to work very hard to be hated) allows for the Democrats (and their liberal enablers) to escalate the new Russophobic propaganda and divert attention from things like the increased defense budget, the private prison complex that profits hugely from the ICE raids and illegal deportations, and the continuing (even growing) crimes of mass incarceration. No, people are given to partisan fighting over issues like gay marriage, or flag desecration, or gender neutral pronouns or whatever. They do not have public fights about foreign policy because both major parties are in total agreement. Trump is only carrying out policy that Obama started, largely, and that Hillary would have continued as well (only likely worse). For foreign policy is the black hole in American consciousness."

Read the rest:

I really find foreign policy examination by Canadians lacking. That article I link has more meat in it than I have read in toto here or at Mound of Sound over the years, all of which is mere regurgitation of mainstream old style Democratic Party hogwash, often NYT style.

Spread your wings. Enlarge your scope. Think.

Or be as irrelevant and shallow as usual. One does not have to pick sides. Be independently thoughtful, which may mean, horror of horrors that you might be pro-Russian on one issue, pro-American on another. I certainly feel no need to plant myself firmly in one camp or the other, blindly glugging the "party" line. So why do others? It's beyond me. Must be some form of tribal need.


Owen Gray said...

I will agree that spreading NATO's reach up to Russia's border was not a good idea, BM. That said, Putin is no Ghandi. And Trump is no president.