Sunday, November 13, 2016

If You're Wondering, Just Ask Ukraine

Just How Close Is the Trump-Kremlin Connection?
We can only hope that there will be time for "other stuff' 
before we're back to Mutual Assured Destruction.

Granted, most of Donald's "true believers" are still "soaking" in the anti-Soviet propaganda which totally saturated the United States during the Cold War. This "failure to update" is a little dangerous these days. The Russian Federation which emerged from the political ruins of the old Soviet remains a geo-political competitor and, in some cases, an actual adversary to the United States, but -- importantly -- the essential nature of both this adversary and the threat it poses are significantly changed from the old Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban Missile Crisis days.

This situation is further aggravated by the fact that modern Americans have no current experience with leadership as competent and determined as Vladimir Putin's. Of course, this is far from any sort of endorsement coming from MeanMesa -- the man is despicable, but he has a chillingly thorough understanding of the use of power. This is dangerous because Putin is now facing a dangerously unstable and largely uninformed US President [elect], an opportunity the Russian almost certainly intends to exploit to its fullest.

Apparently, this "exploitation" has already begun much earlier with Russian coordination with the Trump Presidential Campaign.

This discussion could drag on for pages, but MeanMesa would like to present a single, very interesting, point before this post gets to the ESQUIRE article below.

Putin's Pitch to Trump: "Better Relations With US"
The view through the eyes of Russian oligarchs

President Putin, responding to the Trump election victory, noted that US-Russian relations now presented an opportunity to improve if Wall Street markets' influence on the new administration were to be curtailed.

Although this comment may seem innocuous enough, there is, probably, much more to the story. In fact there are a few "high points" which can assist in a reasonable "interpretation" of Putin's words.

High Points

1. Sanctions

The oligarchs surrounding Vladimir Putin are still "feeling the sting" of the economic, banking and trade sanctions put in place by US President Obama in response to the Russian Federation's invasion and annexation of Ukrainian territory in Crimea.

2. Hillary Clinton

Putin and Hillary Clinton see "eye to eye" on practically nothing. As Secretary of State, she helped design not only the sanctions but also much of the military and political strategy employed by the Obama Administration to counter Russia's "insinuation" of itself in other Middle Eastern matters.

3. Domestic Russian Politics

Inside Russia Putin's popularity is largely based on his own version of "Make Russia Great Again." At least in the public image, plenty of Russians were feeling a real nationalist jolt with the covert invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Approximately the same Russian domestic demographic considers issues such as the imposition of sanctions, the casual plan to "beef up" NATO forces in Eastern Europe to better resist further Russian incursions and the lingering discussion of establishing an anti-missile capability to counter the Iranians as direct "affronts" to Russia's ambition to resurrect most of the old Soviet empire.

Here is the specific point MeanMesa wishes to make:

Putin is politically motivated to "re-image" the sanctions as the result of Wall Street influence on the Oval Office instead of a response to the poorly conceived Kremlin policy for the Ukraine and Crimea invasion. The dangerously unstable Trump Presidency offers the incredibly more competent Putin the chance to alter the domestic Russian political perception of all of these issues.

An Overview of the Russian Federation [USATODAY]
The rather unsettling confusion of the typical American when it comes to Russian issues makes the "high stakes" game between Putin and Trump quite volatile.

Although there are plenty of mean things to say about Trump's folksy fascism, perhaps the central conclusion in this case is that the man is a terrible poker player.

Given this, we can understand that the Russian will be designing the picnic while the new American President will be totally preoccupied with the fried chicken and potato salad.

Pay attention. This could become significantly more frightening as time passes with the Trump Administration.

The Trump Russian Connection
Don't count on the FBI to sort through this...

MeanMesa enjoys weekly visits by Charlie Pierce to The Stephanie Miller Show [7 - 10 AM weekdays, AM1350, KABQ Albuquerque] -- he is a welcome, lively, well informed addition to this great morning radio talk show. Please have a look at Pierce's article in ESQUIRE. [Visit the original article here - ESQUIRE]

This Story Should Dominate the News Until Trump Is Sworn In
This needs to have a full airing.

NOV 11, 2016

Maybe it's because I grew up at the tail end of the McCarthy Era and in the heart of the Cold War, and maybe because I spent 13 awful days in 1962 waiting for the missiles to fly, and maybe it's because I believe that, Tsarist or Communist or Kleptocracy, Russia behaves in pretty much the same way, but I honestly believe that this should be the only story dominating the news right now.

At least, I think it warrants as much space in our various media as was devoted to the BREAKING NEWS about what John Podesta had for lunch last year. Per The Washington Post:

The statement came from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who said in an interview with the state-run Interfax news agency that "there were contacts" with the Trump team. "Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage," Ryabkov said. "We have just begun to consider ways of building dialogue with the future Donald Trump administration and channels we will be using for those purposes," Ryabkov was quoted as saying. Ryabkov provided no further details, and his remarks drew a swift denial from Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who said the campaign had "no contact with Russian officials" before Tuesday's election.

Why in Christ's sweet name isn't this thundering through the news cycle right now? Why aren't hundreds of national-security reporters all over it? We have elected a guy who may well have traded what little integrity he has to a vicious autocrat and his thieves-in-law. (Note to anyone who takes exception: This is not "red-baiting" because these crooks are not Red.) We know he can't get a loan from most American banks, so he has to go overseas for a lot of his financing. What banks is he tied into, and are any of those banks tied into the Russian government? Whom does he owe and how much does he owe them? And how do they plan to collect?

This is a monumental story, and it deserves a full airing before we swear this guy in. And it's only part of the unprecedented tangle of shadowy business dealings that will follow him into office. The president-elect also is the defendant in 75 different lawsuits of assorted kinds. He plans to put his assets into a "blind trust" that will be overseen by…his children. I know a lot of people are charmed by his reluctance to abide by traditional political norms and customs, but this is far beyond that. This is a guy toting a huge amount of baggage into the Oval Office and each piece of it contains a ticking time-bomb.

The Russian business is perilous beyond words. But you can sense even now that our Fourth Estate is pushing it ever so gently in the direction of the same memory hole down which went Nixon's treasonous behavior as regards the Paris Peace Talks and the possibility that the Reagan campaign monkey wrenched the release of the hostages in Iran in 1980. The way this works is that the elite political media decides something is so unthinkable that the children—that's the rest of us—are too delicate to handle it.

Well, kids, the unthinkable already has happened. You might as well cover it as fully as possible.

Additional Reading

If you haven't managed to find a way off the planet, this is a good time to be well informed.

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