Monday, October 10, 2016

Does Donald Trump Understand Russia?

Donald Trump spoke about his relationship with Putin during the debate. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

New York Times: Trump Reveals His Ignorance on Russia

Donald Trump finally said something true.

During the debate tonight, Hillary Clinton brought up the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian hackers stole emails from the Democratic National Committee to influence the election to Trump’s benefit. Maybe, she said, that was because Trump has praised Putin so much.

“I don’t know Putin,” Trump said.

Then he added that nugget of truth. “I know nothing about Russia,” he said.

He quickly tried to correct himself: “I know about Russia, but I don’t know about the inner workings of Russia.”

Because, of course, our next president should be ignorant about the “inner workings” of one of the country’s most aggressive and dangerous adversaries. (As if to demonstrate his ignorance, Trump later said that Russia, Syria and Iran are aligned because of weak leadership by President Obama. Actually, they have been aligned for decades.)

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The only American politician who understood Russia/the Soviet Union/the Eastern bloc/etc. was President Reagan. Period. This is why he was so despised and feared by many in the Kremlin at the time .... he knew who and what they were, and he knew how to articulate his views that resounded in the minds of many in the East (mine included). Flash forward to today .... over the past few decades I have lost count on the number of books/journals/policy forums/discussions/interviews/debates/news reports/etc. that I have read, heard, or seen on Russia from the U.S. .... and guess what .... most (if not all) have been proven consistently wrong when it came to  explaining what is happening in Russia .... especially today. Donald Trump's admission that he is ignorant on the inner workings of Russia was a breath of fresh air to me .... he is admitting something that no one in Washington has the courage to admit .... which is that they are clueless when it comes to Russia ... Hillary Clinton included.


B.Poster said...

Admitting you don't know something is the first step to being teachable and able to learn. Mr. Trump's initial decision to surround himself with advisors such as Paul Manafort and Carter Page who supposedly have strong relations with top Russian officials should be a big help. After all trust is going to need to be built.

America obviously does not understand Russia. On the flip side it seems to me Russia may not understand America or Americans very well either.

As for Reagan understanding Russia/the Soviet Union, you were there. I wasn't. With that said I find such a notion questionable at best. Didn't he refer to the Soviet Union as the "evil empire?" Is such rhetoric really going to help when it comes time to negotiate? Fortunately while the rhetoric was heated when it came time to negotiate an end to the Cold War proper respect was shown on all sides.

On this note and a bit off topic, when it comes time to renegotiate the trade agreements with countries such as China, the various defense "alliances" such as NATO and others, and the building of the wall along the southern border proper respect will need to be shown to our people during the negotiations. It should be obvious to anyone the United States has a right to defend itself from invasion from the south, cannot possibly be expected to keep up with these ridiculous defense agreements, and reasonably should not be expected to continue to be economically raped under the various one sided trade agreements. When it comes time to negotiate changes, the heated rhetoric will need to be put aside on all sides. Fortunately it seems Soviet and US officials were able to do this when negotiating the end of Cold War I. This is likely the kind of thing that is going to need to be done to defuse tensions in Cold War II and hopefully end it without a shooting war.

RRH said...

Did Reagan understand the Soviets?? Maybe.

Does Putin and his circle understand the U.S. and know "who and what they are"?

Absolutely. And that is why the Russians are feared and reviled in Washington today.

B.Poster said...

If the Russian nessaging sums up who and what the Americans are, America is in huge trouble. Essentially there seems to be little difference between it and what Nzzi Germany leveled against the Jews and unlike in the "west" there seems to be very little in the way of alterbative viewpoints permitted.

Right now it seems western leaders believe the rhetoric is primarily for domestic consumption but there probably is some concern.

In a world where American leaders are constantly dehumanized and any messaging opposition to this is at best disorganized and inconsistent, necessary concessions on the part of the US may be difficult and US leaders may feel compelled to run to the arms of less than savory characters for short term survival needs.

The US should begin with the following. 1.)Recognize Crimea as Russian and 2.) end US economic sanctions against Russia while pkedging to do all it can to oppose the sanctions imposed by others against Russia. Such concessions would cost nothing and might benefit us.

There are significant trust issues to work through on both sides. These would be good places where America could start.

I'd also add that US leaders should refrain from calling Putin "Hitler." Given Russia's experience with the real thing and the enormous sacrifices made by Russia to defeat the real thing, this is not going to be appreciated or helpful. While these analogies have been roundly criticized in many corners within the media, I'm not sure this is being picked up in the Russian media.

War News Updates Editor said...

B. Poster. The Russian media is picking up on the analogies. The worse is Hillary Clinton calling Putin "Hitler" a few years back. Take it from me .... he will never forget that even though she gave a "sort-of" apology after that.

B.Poster said...

WNU: Thank you for the reply. I suspected this comparison is being picked up in the Russian media. While many in the US media are gleefully going along, there is also much criticism in the US media to the Hitler analogy. I don't think the criticism is being picked up.

I think we can agree as I explained in the previous post why it's a bad idea to compare a popular Russian leader to Hitler. Hillary probably has no clue about what she's doing and doesn't even realize the destructiveness of such comments.

At least Reagan to the best of my knowledge had the good sense not to refer to Soviet leaders as "Hitler" opting for the tetm "evil empire" or something to this effect.

Comments such as "Hitler" with regards to Putin are representative of the mind of an impulsive child-like person who doesn't think through what they are saying. Either that or she is evil personified. I lean in tbe direction of impulsive child-like person. Either way her candidacy as POTUS needs to be opposed by any and all means necessary.

Under a Trump Administration there is a possibility of omproved relations with Russia. Under Clinton there seems no possibility. Improving relations with Russia should be the single most important US foreign policy goal. This alone would be reason enough to vote Trump absent anything else.

RRH said...

The ravings of officials in forums such as the UN and NATO are for more than just domestic consumption. The on cue howls from clients and allies, such as the UK and France, are proof positive of that.

The MSM has done its very best promoting the Washington dictated line on Russia. The Russians are "aggressive", "unco-operative", "obstructionist" etc and so on while folks like Kerry are "striving for a peaceful resolution" or some such nonsense.

Trump's so called concillitory stance vus a vis Russia will be more than made up for by inflamatory rhetoric toward China - arguably the far more dangerous player. It may even be the case that Trump would try to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing using his "deal making" accumen. The disappointment when this scam fails, and subsequent tantrum, will be epic (if he manages to be elected - and it ain't lookin' good).

Der Furor has shown himself to be every bit as impulsive, childlike and dangerous -more so in fact- than Clinton. This is more than enough reason not to vote for either of them.

I do agree B. with your assertion that sorting things out with Russia should be the highest foreign policy priority for the U.S. The problem is the "cray cray" that informs U.S. politics/policy these days won't permit it.