Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trump, Putin and NATO: worrying development

The quote below is from the Sept. 9 article Why Donald Trump can't stop praising Vladimir Putin, by Jeet Heer at the New Republic:

"Donald Trump has long shown admiration and respect for Vladimir Putin, saying that the authoritarian Russian president is “doing a great job” in “rebuilding Russia,” and “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.” After Putin called Trump a “talented person” last year, he returned the favor: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

So it came as no surprise when he praised Putin during NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief Forum” on Wednesday night. “The man has very strong control over a country,” Trump told Matt Lauer. “It’s a very different system and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”...

Americans, though, feel less affection for the Russian strongman. A Bloomberg poll conducted last month found that 69 percent of respondents were bothered by Trump’s praise of Putin, the seventh-highest concern about the Republican nominee.  

Why, then, does Trump continue to show affection for Putin? Some journalists have tried to explain it in crass economic terms, by pointing to evidence that Trump has borrowed money from Russian oligarchs and that former campaign manager Paul Manafort was handsomely compensated by Putin allies in the Ukraine..."

Next, I am copying from How Donald Trump's Rhetoric on NATO Works to Vladimir Putin's Advantage, by Michael Singh at the Aug. 7 Wall Street Journal:

"To see Donald Trump’s rhetoric on NATO strictly through the lens of U.S. politics would be a mistake. Mr. Trump has called the alliance “obsolete” and questioned the U.S. commitment to defend NATO allies...

In an election year, it is tempting to dismiss as partisan division such divergence from long-standing U.S. policy... Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, probably sees the growing skepticism toward NATO not as an unexpected twist in the U.S. political debate but as the intended outcome of a Russian policy designed to deter the United States.

Consider: Russian forces have acted boldly in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria. They have become increasingly aggressive toward U.S. forces. Analysts have had to reassess Moscow’s willingness to take risks. Meanwhile, Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons to counter conventional threats and quickly close conflicts, a strategy it describes as “escalate to deescalate.”

To Mr. Putin, wavering in the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance is vindication of this approach. He will not fail to highlight U.S. vacillation to Eastern European states, where leaders may increasingly feel pressure to hedge their bets on U.S. support against Russia and other threats. This vicious cycle could result in the success of a Russian strategy to “destroy our alliance, not by attacking it but by splintering it,” as the commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, put it last year..."

Today, Sept. 22, is Bulgaria's Independence Day. I hope that despite these scary trends my country and all of Eastern Europe will retain independence.

No comments: