Donald J Trump: Russia’s Trojan Horse? The Russian Connection

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International

Article by: Dr. A. Mansouri

The Russian Federation was falsely perceived as a partner to the United States and NATO after the fall of the Iron Curtain and any illusions of this notion should have been vaporized in 2008 when the Russian army attacked NATO candidate Georgia. This kind of Russian aggression expanded later into Ukraine in 2014 when Ukrainians chose to embrace the West rather than remain in the Russian orbit. Yet the real declaration of war on the U.S. was the direct hacking of U.S. institutions by the Russian government’s cyber agencies. That is when the war between U.S. and Russia expanded on three fronts: the less-obvious information warfare, proxy warfare, as known from the Cold War era, and the new frontier of cyber warfare.

For Donald Trump to side publicly with an enemy of the United States, and even go so far as to express praise for its authoritarian and kleptocratic president, is unheard of and truly alarming. Senator John McCain described Putin as a “thug and murderer,” but the atrocities that this ex-KGB operative has ordered in Chechnya and Syria would qualify him as a mass murderer.

Trump has shifted opinion on various topics throughout the last year, but he didn’t change course on his opinion of the Putin regime and the unprecedented appeasement of Russia’s national interest.

During his campaign he expressed doubts about NATO and his advisors voiced criticism over NATO expansion, which is the classical excuse for Russian aggression toward its neighbors.

Once the Eastern European countries were liberated from Soviet occupation in 1989, they were eager to join NATO – the most powerful military alliance in the world – to prevent a repeat of history and another Russian invasion. All of these countries joined NATO (and the EU) in a democratic process supported by the majority of the people. Hungary, for example, held a referendum in 1997 which resulted overwhelmingly in favor of NATO membership. This came at a time when Russia was bombing Grozny and other towns in Chechnya, in reaction to their aspirations for independence. According to the United Nations, around half a million Chechens were killed by Russia’s brutal military operations in the Caucasus.

This kind of Russian aggression reminded these Eastern European countries of their own experiences with their bullying neighbor to the East, and fostered an urgent need to be part of a strong defensive alliance.

It might seem as though Putin has chosen Trump to be his Trojan horse to eventually destroy America from within and enable Russia to pursue its national interests; however, there is one problem with this narrative. If this were really the case, it would, like most conspiracies, be kept secret, or at least they would try to keep it secret. I believe Trump’s adamant and amplified public appeasement towards Russia serves a purely commercial agenda.

His own son, Eric, a senior executive at Trump Organization, admitted that they have many customers from Russia and they see a lot of money coming in from Russia. It is clear they want to continue to appeal to Russian multi-millionaires who seek to put their money in safe havens outside of volatile and unpredictable Russia. The Trump family want to make sure most of it is directed to their real estate developments. Until 2014, before Russia invaded Crimea and sanctions were imposed, most of the buyers of high-end luxury developments in Manhattan were Russian millionaires and oligarchs. In fact, there are rumors they directly financed a lot of the Trump projects (we won’t know for sure until Trump releases his finances).

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Trump simply doesn’t want to alienate any potential Russian buyers and investors, but would rather see them flock to his projects not only in the U.S., but also in places such as Dubai (very popular with Russians), where Trump has business interests, including a big residential golf course project with his partner Hussain Sajwani of DAMAC. The over-advertised Akoya project hasn’t attracted many buyers so far, due to Dubai’s slowing housing market in 2016.

As for Russia, a Trump presidency will probably help diffuse the hostility between Russia and the U.S./Europe. Putin desperately needs sanctions relief, as Russia is currently running out of currency reserves and needs financing for their oil & gas projects. Having China as the only cash rich financier gives them difficult bargaining positions. China knows Russia can’t turn to Europe or U.S., and, so, low-balls them.

Russia also needs money for its military ventures in Syria and Eastern Ukraine. While the latter has been somewhat of a success, with their proxy Assad retaining control of Aleppo, Ukraine has been a disaster, comparable to Afghanistan in 1980. According to leaked data, Russian casualties amounted to 2000 soldiers dead and 3000 disabled as a result of Putin’s war against Ukraine. Putin wanted to regain Russia’s former glory by dismembering Ukraine and annexing those lands to boost his popularity, while punishing Ukraine and setting an example for other countries such as Armenia or Moldova, who are still under Russian domination. The initial plan with “Operation Novorossiya” was for the Russian regular army, spec ops and pro-Russian insurgents – fully armed and supplied by Russia – to quickly take control of vast territories of Eastern Ukraine. But they were not able to advance to the ultimate prize, Odesa, nor the vital land corridor to Crimea. The fierce and unexpected Ukrainian defense has kept the Pro-Russian forces at bay in a rather small area in Donbas.

This failure puts Russia in a more desperate financial situation; sustaining Crimea is now much more expensive without a land connection and most of the residents of Crimea are complaining about hyperinflation and frequent power cuts.

Russia is losing money and wants the sanctions removed as a way of getting some relief and being able to raise capital. They see Trump as the man who can make the world slowly look past the annexation of Crimea by initiating rapprochement and lifting sanctions. It’s either that or they have to wait and hope for the oil price to spike up again.

In appointing Rex Tillerson, a close friend of Putin, as Secretary of State, Trump hopes to bring an end to the suspicious element in the current perception Russians hold of America, which will also benefit the Trump Organization. Trump also sees the presidency as a great opportunity to boost his hospitality brand on the international level, where he hasn’t been very successful in the recent decades, especially when compared to competitors like Hilton or Simon Property Group for example. Ivanka has also faced hurdles in promoting her fashion brand in places like Japan, which is why she was so eager to sit in the meeting with prime minister Abe.

It is very difficult to give president-elect Trump the benefit of the doubt regarding conflicts of interest. Naturally he will do everything to promote his business, even as president, because the presidency will end after 4 or, at most, 8 years, but the Trump organization will remain his primary business both for him and his family.

Trump will enter the White House with that thought foremost in his mind. He doesn’t strike me as a person capable of putting U.S. national interests above his own. He avoided serving in the armed forces. His efforts and actions in the past resemble a drive for self-centered gratification rather than patriotism or even a vested interest in contributing to the community and the American people.

Dr. A. Mansouri is a Senior Political Analyst at Journalist Club Vienna

 

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Comments

  1. Avatar Dalton says:

    Dr. Mansouri,
    What BS is next? What I really want to write I will refrain from since the expletives would probably be deleted. To suggest Trump is anyone’s “bitch” which is what you are suggesting, is not only ridiculous, but just another leftist, elitist, media and globalist fixated garbage statement that negates any credibility. I for one am sick of the narratives being propagated by the leftist institutions and their supporters, like you, who think we’re supposed to all jump on board when the establishment points the way. TO suggest Rex Tillerson is anything but a seasoned professional and someone who wants to serve his country is not only unsupported, but displays exactly the kind of mentality that Americans are sick of. Tillerson’s experience with Putin may be his biggest asset, and just because someone does business with another doesn’t make them friends. His moving from the business world where his responsibilities and focus were completely different than will his position working for the people of the US is one of refreshing change. If you heard his confirmation hearing you can easily conclude he’s not in this for the money or postioning for his former employer, so how about allowing him AND Trump to at least get started before explaining to the world what they are doing or who they are?

    If Trump or his administration turn out to be anything but friendly to Ukraine, I’ll be the first and loudest to protest but after 8 years of an administration that did nothing to help prevent Crimea from being taken or Donbass from being torn apart, and with the option to Trump being the same and possibly a war with Russia that would be no good for anyone, particularly Ukraine, how about you relax your brain a bit and allow him to actually unveil his policies before casting your opinion in a forum that is likely read by advisors to his administrations and should be distanced from Ukraine policy toward the President. If you haven’t been keeping up with current events in DC, fake news, propaganda and harmful commentary against the new administration based on speculation and inuendo, doesn’t exactly ingratiate one to the Trump administration. How about we maximize Ukraine’s positions by focusing on Ukraine’s progress and determination to independence and prosperity for its people.

    1. Avatar slavko says:

      Very reasonable observation and well expressed. I’m finding many commentators that are “predicting” the sellout of Ukraine by Trump an Co. and all that is just rhetoric for now as people join a bandwagon filled with fear. At this point and you well expressed that the most advantageous position for change, is via influence from a friendly voice rather than from staunch opposition. Tillerson certainly offers a voice that may be well received and respected by Putin as Tillerson can offer economic arguments that can benefit Russia in the future and persuade Putin that no one from the West is interested in acquiring more territory whether it be Russian or not. Even Russia with autocratic rule cannot administer and utilize what it has effectively. Trade is more important in order to create strong relations rather than suspicion created by aggressive military policy. Trade is also the new and much civilized venue for a sphere of influence rather than by military conquest.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        An amazingly naive view of Putin.

      2. Avatar CanRus says:

        Putin isn’t interested in Russia’s economy. He’s already doing pretty much everything in his power to trash it. Putin only cares about his personal macho image. That’s one of his common points with Trump, which is probably why Trump has such a crush on him. Hopefully Trump will snap out of it before it’s too late and Putin outmaneuvers him too. Military conquest is Putin’s #1 priority at that moment, because that’s the easiest and fastest path to fame and adulation.

        1. Avatar slavko says:

          Yeah, he has a big ego and is very image conscious. That will certainly get him into a pickle.But I think that all will come down to is “money”. Recently Putin has been rubbing up against the Russian military guys, which is smart if he wants to insure that he can stay in power. It’s the old fashioned way to stay in power. However, when it comes to giving the military guys their toys to play with, then the question becomes from where will the higher tech military toys come from? How will the research be supported? How will production lines be facilitated? Enter the Russian oligarchs. They are they ones that financed all the projects in Russia such as Sochi Olympics and the supposed next FIFA World Cup. It is their financial strength that funds the military in my opinion. So the question really becomes… who owns who in Russia? It is also my understanding that the “money guys of Russia” were not too thrilled when after Putin’s land grabs they, the oligarchs were the ones that lost money. How much can THEY tolerate? Economy is an important consideration as its health is what provides a future and then how on earth can Putin compete against better foreign oil extraction methods if his country’s are antiquated and the nation’s industries are without enough capital to finance competitive technology whether it be in medicine, agriculture, industrial or military applications.

    2. Avatar laker48 says:

      Right you are!

    3. Avatar Brent says:

      I’d love to see Drumpf’s policies….but somebody needs to shut down his twitter account first and tell him to stop acting like a petulant 8 year old every time he someone says something critical of him. I thought there was some “great pivot” that was supposed to happen once he was sworn in as President and instead he’s getting his staff to blatantly lie about the size of the crowd at his inaugaration!!! “Alternative Facts”….seriously?!?!?!? I thought that was only a Russian tactic?

      I also watched Tillerson’s confirmation hearings…for a CEO of a large multi national, there was a lot of excuses and waffling about Russia’s war crimes, which not many people dispute given the evidence that is out there. This isn’t about “fake news”. It’s about not be willing to stand up to war criminals and thinking we should be “doing business” with them to help fund their war machines. It’s also very questionable how the CEO of Exxon claims he didn’t know the company he was running at that time lobbied against U.S. sanctions on Russia for the theft of Crimea.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/rex-tillerson-exxon-lobbying-russia-sanctions-2017-1

      I have more faith in the old guard Republicans to support Ukraine than newly minted “Republicans” like Drumpf, Michael Flynn and Tillerson. Don’t forget how Drumpf and Paul Manafort tried to gut the Republican platform on Ukraine at their convention last summer.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-campaign-guts-gops-anti-russia-stance-on-ukraine/2016/07/18/98adb3b0-4cf3-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html?utm_term=.e6dbb1e2fa5d https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf7f4673032577de326c7ed27daf291328ab67c9032ce0e6f8c00d94ee11f209.jpg

      I can only hope for all of us, and not just Ukraine, that you are right in your assessment of Drumpf and his position on Russia, but so far his rhetoric and comments have done nothing to lessen my fears. I agree with you that the biggest problem was O’bumbla’s weak foreign policy stance to Russia. He kept sending Kerry to meet with Putin and Lavrov all over Europe and Russia and they were played for fools thinking you could negotiate with the Kremlin Mafia. Dubya Bush and Obumbla both made that mistake. I’m not sure why Drumpf thinks he can succeed when Putin has no intention of negotiating fairly or giving anything up that he has already stolen.

      1. Avatar Dalton says:

        Well I’m sure the old guard Republicans would have more faith in a Hillary Clinton, I don’t. For someone who has never held public office, who was the target of relentless onslaught of character assassination, fake news and overwhelming negative coverage and treatment from every establishment institution and their surrogates, I’d say President Trump deserves a little latitude to use twitter or whatever it takes to bypass the MSM until such time it proves it can be in the least bit fair and reports rather than create news or act as a propaganda arm of globalist, leftist ideology.

        Tillerson was professional and thoughtful in his testimony and as much as you and perhaps establishment Republicans may have wanted him to give the prejudged and Establishment promoted answers, he gave very diplomatic and proper responses that didn’t reveal policies prior to having full set of facts. I suggest actually allowing the administration more than a damn week before judging his it’s actions and let his policies develop as the information available to it begins being assessed and integrated into policies.

        One thing that for sure that will not help is for people otherwise united in some areas, such as Ukraine and its future, to alienate or divide themselves by meltdowns over the President who some consider the best chance America has to right the ship in the nation. The best way to develop opportunity and support for other countries, Ukraine in particular, isn’t in melting down like a leftist snowflake, but by developing strategies to help Ukraine develop and expect support as needed from Washington.

        1. Avatar Brent says:

          It’s only been one week?!?!?! Then why does it feel like Drumpf has been in power for months already?

          Believe it or not, I do respect your opinion and seriously hope you’re right in your assessment of Drumpf (not a nickname or insult, but his actual family name). HOWEVER, don’t you think it’s a bit hypocritical to defend Drumpf from character assassination when we’re all still waiting for the results of that team of investigators he sent to Hawaii to check into Obama’s birth certificate? The last thing we heard from “The Donald”, they had found some “extraordinary things” the rest of us were going to be told about….over 5 years ago…

          http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trumps-birther-crusade-was-scam-wrapped-con

          As for your derision of the “main stream media”, I don’t recall any of them peddling horsesh*t about the Clintons or Podesta running a child molestation ring out of a pizza joint in Virginia that caused some moronic follower to go to that pizza joint with a gun.

          http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-38156985

          All of these alt-right bloggers and the whackjobs that believe the horsesh*t they are pushing are way more danagerous than the MSM ever will be. Drumpf criticizes CNN relentlessly, yet he patronizes whack jobs like Alex Jones….seriously???

          http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trump-and-the-amazing-alex-jones

          You are right that we should unite over the common interest in Ukraine, but maybe someone needs to tell Drumpf that too because all of his rhetoric and stupid tweets about NATO, the EU, and every other institution that keeps you and I safe from the evils of tyrants like Putin are really getting tiring, and to top it off Drumpf is one of the leading purveyors of fake news stories.

          Don’t be one of the 27% of eligible voting Americans who actually bought into the sh*t that Drumpf is shovelling. 150 years ago, that buffoon would have been selling snake oil at the County Fair.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf7f4673032577de326c7ed27daf291328ab67c9032ce0e6f8c00d94ee11f209.jpg

          1. Avatar Dalton says:

            “Then why does it feel like Drumpf has been in power for months already?”
            Probably because of the effectiveness of his leadership skills?

            Not in the least bit hypocritical. Trumps opposition to Obama wasn’t 90% of the mainstream media news, 90% of hollywood, Wall St, International elites, 90% of the international news media, International gov leaders all chiming in but one man so I’m not sure how they balance in relevance. Regardless I’m not going to argue the virtues or lack thereof, of President Trump nor defend policies that don’t exist yet other than campaign promises that gave a glimpse. The reality is that we had two options in this election. One was the crowned victor who selected y by the establishment as Obama 2, and who is the most dishonest and corrupt candidate in history that promised to continue the slow death of American sovereignty and the continued “boiling of the frog,” embracing marxist principles that were espoused by the socialist in the election. The alternative was a foul mouthed businessman who promised to shake up Washington and deliver to the nation a Supreme Court that would certainly preserve Constitutional ideals and principles. The decision was easy.

            BTW If you think I’m exaggerating the “marxist” comment then consider the fact that the CIA Director who was promoted to his position by Obama, was, prior to being hired to serve in the CIA (under Bill Clinton’s Presidency) was a self-admitted Communist.

            Check back in April, by then there will be some clarity on his policies. Until then your comments are the same as those melting down for fear of him doing things he hasn’t done, hasn’t said he will do, or has no possibility TO do (because Congress wouldn’t allow it,) so maybe a little patience is in order to see how things unfold rather than climbing on the backs of Hollywood idiots and naysayers.

          2. Avatar Brent says:

            I could continue to debate you on Drumpf vs. Hillary, but this is not the forum and we both have strong support for Ukraine, which this is the forum for and something we can gladly agree on. I sincerely hope you are right, and I sincerely hope I’m wrong….now I’ve got to get back to building my underground shelter….

          3. Avatar Mephisto says:

            Dalton, you are either a russian troll or a complete imbecile

          4. Avatar laker48 says:

            Insults in lieu of bona-fide arguments. Political culture of the “enlightened liberal elites” on full display. Thank goodness, Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected. American people have spoken.

          5. Avatar Mephisto says:

            laker48, the same applies to you. I am not going into an argumentative discussion with the likes of yourself or Dalton, because you are fundamentally incapable of it. You both are either russian trolls or stupid. In either case, that disqualifies you from any discussion.

          6. Avatar laker48 says:

            Talking RuSSian trolls, you seem to be one. I’d prefer to follow this piece of advice:
            “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
            ― Mark Twain
            Talk to yourself!

          7. Avatar Mephisto says:

            as soon as you start using labels such as “marxist”, “socialist”, “elitist”, “leftist”, you essentialy force me to use labels such as “redneck”, “white trash”. It clearly shows that you are stupid, that you have been brainwashed by propaganda and hateful ideology.

            I do not understand the US culture too deeply. I spent about one year in the US in 2001 in Boston. And since Boston has many universities and is full of students, it is mosty leftist, marxist (overwhelming majority voted Clinton). From my outer perspective (not a US resident), the Republican party has been pretty sick since at least Reagan. Bush jr, Rumsfeld, Cheney and now Trump. Hateful speech, hateful ideology, hateful media, denialism, warmongering, religious fundamentalism, creationism, bigotry, empty flagwaving, guns, latent racism. This party will not make America great again. This party always f*cks America up and the Democrats have to clean the mess. That is exactly what Obama has been doing after Bush jr. And that is exactly what someone will need to do after Trump. The only positive thing about Trump is that he will really shake the Republican party and drain the Republican swamp. Of course there are exceptions such as McCain and Graham whom I respect. But the majority are corrupt. If they werent, they would never let Trump grab the power.

          8. Avatar laker48 says:

            Both major American parties are corrupt to the core. You don’t need to understand American culture. One of the greatest, still alive Canadian writers John Robert Colombo summarised this as follows:
            “Canada could have enjoyed: English government, French culture, and American know-how. Instead it ended up with: English know-how, got French government, and American culture.”

            If you want to learn more about corruption among US political elites I’d recommend that you read an excellent analytical piece by US economics and political science professor Mancur Olson “The Rise and Decline of Nations”. It’ll take you less than an hour to read the narrative part of it and a bit longer to get familiar with its econometrics.

            The Democrats seem to be quite a bit more corrupt than the Republicans. Trump has won the election and has at least four years in the White House. It’d be plain stupid to judge him until he hits the first anniversary of his ascension to power. Let’s wait and see.

            I personally don’t believe that he will lift any RuSSian sanctions for at least a year if ever, but he will give hard times to all NATO member states that don’t spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence, what will hit Germany the hardest. He may also give Ukrainian oligarch a run of their lives, as he will most likely place strict controls on all US funds transferred to Ukraine as part of any US assistance package.

            On the second day of his term, the US Air Force delivered the hardest bombing attack ever to the ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria resulting, among other things, in the injury and capture of ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi. This single fact alone testifies to his determination to destroy all so called Islamic states. The US Secretary of Defense, retired Marine general James “Mad Dog” Mattis, is an expert in fighting Islamists. Trump doesn’t need Putin to fight ISIS.

          9. Avatar Mephisto says:

            ISIS is not the problem (it is a local Middle-eastern problem). The real problem is Russia and its political puppets. Of course Putin or Trump gladly welcom ISIS or Mexican wall to divert attention away from real problems.

            From my perspective, it is really concerning to see Trump repeating russian propaganda and executing it. An example
            http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38749884
            some moron called Ted Malloch says “I think Donald Trump is very opposed to supranational organisations, he believes in nation states”. The same belief in “nation states” has been repeatedly expressed by Russia, for example Dugin and Putin. Russia has been doing everything in its power to subvert and destroy the EU
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/12103602/America-to-investigate-Russian-meddling-in-EU.html

            So it is really concerning to see US administration working in concert with Russian intelligence to subvert the EU.

            I am really angry at the “white trash” everywhere, in my own country for electing Zeman, in GB for electing brexit, in the US for electing Trump. The demographics of the these voters are the same everywhere – older, poorer, rural, uneducated – and they destroy peace and democracy. They became useful idiots for Putin without knowing it.
            I have nothing against rural people. My grandparents were farmers (property confiscated by communists), my granded did not have even high school, was sent to prison by communists to harvest uranium. I hate the stupidity of the people voting for Trump and similar populists. These same kind of people elected Hitler.

          10. Avatar laker48 says:

            You need professional help ASAP in anger management. What’s going on around you is called democracy and you won’t change it. Calling people “white trash” brings to mind the adage that “what Peter says about Paul, speaks volumes about Peter”.

            BTW, as far as the future collapse of the euro is concerned, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a financial genius to see the writing on the wall; it will eventually collapse, as the European Central Bank doesn’t have macroeconomic tools to exercise and enforce effective monetary policies within the eurozone, and I’ve been repeatedly posting this for over a year now.

            The euro was created mainly by Germany and France in the hopes of dominating Europe and getting rid of US dominance, but this decision has started backfiring, with Germany exposed to the largest losses after the ultimate collapse of the common currency. The US won’t leave Germany anytime soon, as the Kanzlerakte is binding until 2049.

            The most recent deployment of the US Army in Poland sends warning signals to both Germany and RuSSia. Official personal adviser to Trump Rudolph Giuliani said in the December 16, 2016 interview for the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita that the US would likely dispatch between 25 and 50 thousand additional troops to Europe and deploy them in central and eastern Europe, mostly in Poland, the Baltic States and Romania.

            The EU, in order to survive, will have to scrap or radically modify the Treaty of Lisbon and reverse to the EEC format and national currencies of all eurozone member states. The euro kills national economies of most of its users. Any form of a euro kolkhoz is a pipe dream.

          11. Avatar Alex George says:

            “The most recent deployment of the US Army in Poland sends warning signals to both Germany and RuSSia.”

            Oh please. There is no warning to Germany whatsoever.

            “the US would likely dispatch between 25 and 50 thousand additional troops to Europe”

            No, it won’t. The Republicans are against any further spending unless matched by cuts elsewhere. Trump has already signalled where the extra spending will go, and it won’t be on the military.

            And no there is no reason to think the Euro will collapse.

          12. Avatar laker48 says:

            Let’s wait and see!

          13. Avatar Alex George says:

            Exactly – stop making foolish predictions about what Trump will do, when you have no reason to make them.

            He has already laid down his spending priorities and protecting Europe isn’t in there.

          14. Avatar Dalton says:

            YOu can label all you want, the facts are facts. Look it up yourself. It isn’t ad hominem such as your retort, but fact. With that said, it clearly shows your ignorance in not understanding that and stupidity for not being intelligent enough to confirm it or deny it with facts.

            I would agree with some of your comments regarding politics in general then you couldn’t help yourself with your “love speech” as you practice exactly what you accuse others of in your rant against others who don’t see the world as you want..Well done hypocrite.

          15. Avatar Alex George says:

            Yes, you are indeed a hypocrite – well proved.

          16. Avatar laker48 says:

            Dalton is a relist.

          17. Avatar Alex George says:

            Not even close. He and you have a long way to go before you get to that.

          18. Avatar Alex George says:

            Which is also what you are proving about yourself. Trump is ovbviously far more important to you than Ukraine is.

            Excellent quote – you should take it to heart.

          19. Avatar laker48 says:

            Of course, he is. I’m first of all a citizen of Canada and Poland, and Trump is way better for both than Hillary Clinton would have been. He’s already given a go ahead to the Keystone XL oil pipeline construction project and started acting towards the permanent removal of any customs duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports into the US.

            As far as Poland is concerned, already official personal adviser to Trump Rudolph Giuliani told the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita during his December 16, 2016 interview that “RuSSia has to be dealt with from a position of force” and “additional 25 to 50 thousand US troops will be likely sent to and deployed in central and eastern Europe, mainly in the Baltic States, Poland and Romania”.

            Ukraine is a Poland’s strategic partner, but not the most important one. BTW, mutual relations have started cooling off and the ball is in the Ukrainian court. Let’s wait and see what’s gonna happen over the net few months, albeit I don’t expect Trump to compromise with the dwarf about Ukraine, but he won’t be so forgiving, as Obama was.

          20. Avatar Alex George says:

            I have zero interest in your concerns about Canada and Poland, even if they were accurate. This is a blog about Ukraine. Trump is relevant insofar as he helps or hinders Ukraine. So far, he has done nothing for Ukraine.

          21. Avatar laker48 says:

            “So far, he has done nothing for Ukraine.”
            Neither has he done anything against it. BTW, why should he? What did Ukraine do to earn his trust and US help? He will do whatever is best for AMERICA. States don’t have feelings, only their national interests. It’s called pragmatism.

          22. Avatar Alex George says:

            Ukraine doesn’t have to earn Trump’s trust – he has to earn the world’s trust. Ukraine has zero to prove, its resistance to Tyranny, and holding back Putin’s aggression, is well known. Trump so far has everything to prove.

            Furthermore, doing what is best for America and helping Ukraine are not two different things, as you so vacuously assert, so please spare me the fascist rubbish.

            And no, you have no idea whether Trump will even do what is best for America, so please also spare me your messianic hero-worship. He is an ordinary human being and so far, very much an unknown quantity.

            Pragmatism in this context means helping Ukraine, not doing deals with Putin.

          23. Avatar laker48 says:

            Its heroic fight against RuSSian aggression notwithstanding, Ukraine is still a den of thieves and its oligarchs led by its president still rob the country blind. Face it! After the collapse of RuSSia, that may happen even before 2020 or in the early 2020s the latest, Ukraine will become abandoned by God and people.

            The corruption level there has been hardly reduced over the last three years and won’t be in a foreseeable future. Even Putler’s RuSSia is less corrupt than Ukraine, while Belarus is an oasis of transparency in comparison with today’s Ukraine. Trump doesn’t have to prove anything to Ukraine, nor he needs to earn anyone’s trust there. Got it?

          24. Avatar Alex George says:

            LMAO, oh please spare me your fascist bleatings, and more to the point, your ignorance about what goes on in Ukraine. You clearly know little about it.

            Ukraine is not a “den of thieves” – but thank you for admitting your racism.

            Ukraine has great problems with corruption, and you are obviously keen to see that continue, as is Putin. But it is also the case htat huge progress has been made in combating it.

            “Even Putler’s RuSSia is less corrupt than Ukraine, while Belarus is an oasis of transparency in comparison with today’s Ukraine.”

            LMAO – yes, an excellent example of a diseased and deluded mind. thank you. Now, when you actually know even some basic facts about Ukraine, come back and write .

            And no, Russia won’t collapse by 2020, because people like you will assist it to keep going. Fine, whatever.

            As I wrote above, Ukraine doesn’t have to earn Trump’s trust – he has to earn the World’s trust. Ukraine has zero to prove, its resistance to Tyranny, and holding back Putin’s aggression, is well known. Trump so far has everything to prove. Got it?

          25. Avatar laker48 says:

            All your passionate rant notwithstanding I’m pleased to admit my mistake, as the levels of corruption were the same in RuSSia and Ukraine in 2016, at least according to Transparency International. https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016
            So long!

          26. Avatar Alex George says:

            Its not a passionate rant at all, just pointing out the truth – you have put your ignorance of the situation in Ukraine on display. Which is hardly surprising. Rants such as yours generally arise from lack of education.

            And that is even more so when you try to use the TI Index as a measure of corruption – it doesn’t even purport to be.

          27. Avatar laker48 says:

            This horse is dead. Let’s wait several weeks. Here’s the link to a good reading for you: http://www.mysearch.org.uk/website1/pdf/715.2.pdf
            Take your time and read it, please. Ukraine still stands a fair chance to become a modern state, but the ball is in its curt. I’m curious how things will eventually play out.

          28. Avatar Alex George says:

            Yes, yes, George Friedman – when did you discover him?

            My point is that you put your utter ignorance of Ukraine on display with your comments above. You could cure that just by talking to people there, and reading from a wide range of media published there – most are available in English and there is google translate if you can’t read Russian or Ukrainian.

            Its not hard to be informed, just requires willingness and some diligence. For the first time, apparently.

          29. Avatar laker48 says:

            Well, I’ve been to Ukraine many times and during the Soviet era spent there several months on business as a liaison officer for a US corporation working on projects in the Soviet Union. Last time I was there in the fall of 2008. Ukraine has always been corrupt and the Maidan revolution was triggered when there was almost nothing left to steal. Theft was rampant and almost everyone was stealing whatever they could. The festival of grand theft and larceny started right after Ukraine regained its independence in 1992 and hasn’t ended so far.

          30. Avatar Alex George says:

            In other words, you have little familiarity with what is going on there at the moment, I get it. As I said, its not hard to keep informed, it just requires willingness and some diligence.

            Reading back on this, I can see that I could make my point about Friedman clearer – he managed to get just about every prediction wrong concerning Russia/Ukraine/Central Asia/China.

            Admittedly he wrote only a few years before one of the biggest changes that region has seen, but that probably just shows the wisdom of thinking less about 100 years and more about the uncertainties of the next 10.

          31. Avatar laker48 says:

            “I can see that I could make my point about Friedman clearer – he managed to get just about every prediction wrong concerning Russia/Ukraine/Central Asia/China.”
            His predictions for the first 10 years are so far accurate to the tee. Let’s wait and see the unfolding future.

            As far as Ukraine is concerned, I’m in touch with my friends in Horokhov, Luck, Sokal, Lviv and Kyiv. as well as in Przemysl, my hometown Jaroslaw, and Lublin. All of them used to do business on both sides of the border, but now they think it’s too risky. My friend from Lublin was even afraid to drive through western Ukraine to a Carpathian hot springs resort and took a Ukrainian “marshrutka” two weeks ago. I’m comparing Ukraine to Polish state standards and it’s still a long way to go to even come close.
            I also have a close Ukrainian friend from Lviv living next door, who worked as a bartender there and works as one in Canada too, and know well two Ukrainian Greco-Catholic priests from Poland serving the local Ukrainian community. They give me the same information.

            FYI, I’m not here because I’m impressed with the greatness of Ukraine, but for the sole reason of defending its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity co-guaranteed and blatantly violated by the fascist RuSSian Federation. Ukraine has the unquestioned right to its independence, so I’ll be here as long as it takes to see the katsaps out of Ukrainian territory. RuSSia has no business there.

          32. Avatar Dalton says:

            Really funny stuff. Tell you what hotshot, bring your self-deluded superior intellect anytime if you want to engage in debate. My inclination with people such as you is to simply dismiss you as thoughtless snowflakes who get their “insight” and viewpoints from CNN, while your type march in streets, smashing buildings and assaulting people while crying cute slogans like “love trump hates” completely oblivious to their own stupidity. It’s always the other person whose guilty of the thing a liberal thinker does. You have no doubt little experience with Russian trolls since most of them were on the same plank as you until the establishment made Russia their number one target. Since this is a forum involving Ukraine, I’d prefer to keep it in that context so if you have something substantive and not speculative, bring it.

          33. Avatar Alex George says:

            And you have just proved exactly the same thing about yourself.

    4. Avatar Alex George says:

      Oh please – whether tillerson is a “professional” is irrelevant – everybody at this level is.

      Tillerson is being watched carefully because his views on Russia indicate either strong question marks over his judgment, or conflicted interests, or both.

      The ball is in his court and everyone hopes he does the right thing.

      1. Avatar Dalton says:

        “Everyone”? We clearly have different views from past appointees who were bureaucrats or politicians. The contrast in “professionalism” is clear.

      2. Avatar Dalton says:

        By the way, what ” views on Russia” are you referring?

    5. Avatar Dale Davies says:

      I am Canadian and have always voted Conservative which translates to Republican in the USA. That stated, I have not liked the combover since his “you’re fired” reallity BS. If I was an American citizen for this election, I would have voted to enable Hillary a shot at the Presidency. She is at least an experienced statesman with diplomacy skills. We will see how or if the combover develops in this regard. So like we have to do with growing teenagers, we need to give him enough rope to hang himself.
      In regards to Obama, I would not say he did nothing for Ukraine. It could have been the Senate and House of Representatives that have provided some defensive equipement and training. It has been somewhat minimal compared to what could have and should have been done. Obama’s worst indiscretion was the fact of not visiting Ukraine once.
      As to his cabinet nominees/appointees, I have already minced words with Gen. Flynn Flamm over comments here. He tried pulling rank on a discussion and siad I am a nobody. Well we are all really nobody’s, and I do not take crap from anybody. Especially if they think they are important! His manner is not condusive to diplomatic affairs.

      1. Avatar Dalton says:

        Gen Flynn doesn’t need to be diplomatic as I don’t believe he was hired for his diplomacy skills.

        Interesting can you link to where you had discussion with him?

        1. Avatar Dale Davies says:

          I am having trouble finding it. The discussion was about Nov 21 to 23. I have tried going back in my comments list but it starts going back to the start just about the time I would be getting there. I can get quite a bit past Christmas towards that time. I found one mention of the combover and telling off Gen Flynn Flamm. You can and are welcome to look for it as the discussion header should have my name and going to Lt. Gen Micheal Flynn.

          1. Avatar Dalton says:

            I found it I guess: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/uatodaytv/us_military_budget_aimed_at_deterring_russia_in_2017/#comment-3033166994

            I really don’t believe that was General Flynn. What exactly is it that you disapprove of him on? Why the reference to his name as “flamm”?

          2. Avatar Dale Davies says:

            It is close but there is another time he told me I am a nobody. I resonded and told him off. He was commenting on after the combover was inaugurated they were going to meet with Pootler and Assad and determine an action plan to eliminate terrorism. I suggested that Czar Pootin and Assad to this point have not really engauged ISIS but resistance fighters to Assad’s regime caused by Assad sending military to shoot protesting students. If the combover and Gen Flynn Flamm get involved with them they could be constued as complicite in Czar Pootin and Assad war crimes.
            The reference to Flynn Flamm is a reference to the movie The Flym Flam Man with George C. Scott as a conn artist.

          3. Avatar Dale Davies says:

            There is another I explain they could be complicite in Putin and Assad war crimes if they persue an affiliation to elliminate terrorism.
            I got my dander up with Gen Flynn Flamm when he commented he was (at the time)President elect Trump’s NSA advisor and I am a nobody. It falls in with the type attitude I pick up from the combover and I am confident Gen Flynn Flamm exudes also.
            I have issue with their willingness to ignore the UN resolution deeming the RF an aggressor state in invading and occupying Ukraine. Yes the sanctions hurt and affect many people and companies but appeasement is not the answer. It did not work to avoid WW2, and it will not work now. As western diplomats have repeatedly stated there is no military solution to dealing with the Ukraine and Syria issues, Czar Pootin gets cochier and more belligerant.
            The combover’s interests are more that of a businessman looking for investment in Pootlerstan. Gen Flynn Flamm is following the gravy train!

          4. Avatar Dalton says:

            Dale, with all due respect, I sincerely doubt that was actually General Flynn that was responding to you, or taking part in a discussion on Disqus.

          5. Avatar Dale Davies says:

            Possible for certain. I was told “Motorola” was not actually the person commenting on uatoday news posts we commented on. He would post for a couple of weeks and then be gone for a couple of weeks. I am certain he did not comment while at the front lines. Then since he fell apart there have been no posts from him. HMMM.

  2. Avatar Brent says:

    Maybe it’s time “Twitter Drumpf” shut down his twitter account and started acting like a President

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf7f4673032577de326c7ed27daf291328ab67c9032ce0e6f8c00d94ee11f209.jpg

  3. Avatar Alex George says:

    A good article, moderately expressed. Trump’s poor judgment on Russia has been obvious, and conflicted personal interests seem the most likely explanation.

    On the bright side, it’s unlikely to harm Ukraine – plenty of republicans and democrats determined to see to that. Thank you to all of them.

    1. Avatar Dalton says:

      Perhaps you would enlighten as to what judgement on Russia he’s expressed other than as relates to improving relations in areas that can benefit us and it’s interests? Bear in mind also the interests expressed in the Republican platform is unequivocal and explicit support of Ukraine, something I might add was absent in the Democrat platform. Enlighten please.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        “other than as …”

        Classic Dalton – everything that Trump has ever said about Russia “relates to improving relations in areas that can benefit us and it’s interests”. Usual a priori reasoning. And you will refuse to hear anything contrary to that. Sorry, but you are nothing but a completely one-eyed partisan for Trump, who never listens to any rational discussion. So why should I or anyone else waste our time debating Trump’s past statements with you? That makes about as much sense as Trump’s repeated attempts now to debate voting results in an election which he WON. ;o)

        You also have no interest in Ukraine – the only issue you ever post on here is defending Trump against every slight, real or imagined.

        Fortunately Trump has very little capacity to affect Ukraine so your thoughts are irrelevant.

        1. Avatar Dalton says:

          First of all, I don’t do anything, “unthinkingly”. I asked you to “educate me” on what judgement you were you referring, just one example other than working together to fight ISIS for example. Just one. Instead you talk the same BS that the MSM, Obama and the Hillary campaign spat out ad nauseam, which is accusation and deflection without any fact. Now try again, what are you talking about relative to what YOU said? I don’t care to debate anything with you in this forum about Trump or American politics here except as relates to a. the story to which the comment is made, b. Ukraine. The debate about Trump’s policies that haven’t been presented, actions that haven’t happened, or narratives fomented by the same sources that aren’t able to accept their ideological defeat in the election, are not something I’m going to argue about.
          As for your comment on me and Ukraine, you display exactly why arguing with people like you is senseless- you’re simply ignorant. My disqus profile history is open for anyone to see and my “interest” in Ukraine goes beyond forum discussions in ways you haven’t a clue so – GFY.
          If you believe your last statement, then why are you even bother to retort? Are you that anxious to be a little troll with someone who supported the person you didn’t that you just had to spout off? Just relax in your little snowflake space of safety and click your heels when there is something in reality that matters.
          Now, Since RUSSIA certainly can affect, and has affected Ukraine, and since the article is about Trump and Russia, I ask you AGAIN, and in fact will include the pertainant and factual reference to Ukraine- “Perhaps you would enlighten as to what judgement on Russia he’s expressed other than as relates to improving relations in areas that can benefit us and it’s interests? Bear in mind also the interests expressed in the Republican platform is unequivocal and explicit support of Ukraine, something I might add was absent in the Democrat platform. Enlighten please.”

          1. Avatar Alex George says:

            On the contrary Dalton, your posts epitomise the fact that almost everything you do is “unthinkingly”. And what I wrote was correct: The only times you ever appear on these forums is to try to argue down anyone with anything negative to say about Trump. I wrote “I consider his judgment on Russia has been poor”, and you went ballistic.

            Look on the bright side – I have already given you far more attention than you deserve. Consider it a gift.

          2. Avatar Dalton says:

            No, it’s not ‘on the contrary’, you are unable to enlighten me, rather you want to make it personal, thinking somehow your virtual world here and attention matters. Take a pill, you aren’t important to anyone other than yourself and I would suggest it may be better to look for areas of unity than create more division because your tactics are worthy now of Russian trollism , which is what I believe you seemed like in our first encounter months ago. This site started long before Trump was even relevant in US politics and I’ve been here since it’s beginning and really, truly could care less what you think.

          3. Avatar Alex George says:

            If you “really, truly could care less what I think” you wouldn’t have gone ballistic just because I wrote that Trump had poor judgment on Russia.

            Yes, a long time ago (years ago) you used to comment here. but after Trump became relevant you stopped commenting about Ukraine and only turned up when an article criticised Trump. I said this to you last time, you got shirty about it, but as soon as that article went dead, you disappeared again.

            If you really truly could care less, then really truly don’t respond to my posts

          4. Avatar Dalton says:

            Alex, seriously, just GFY ..
            The very fact that you still after several responses to me can’t enlighten me as to what exactly Trump’s poor judgement is in your view, shows me you’re more interested in spending the time to argue something you’re unwilling to show, rather than spending less time to actually show it, doesn’t exactly help your point.

            Do you honestly think that you and your snowflake friends inability to deal with reality is going to help make things any better in the US and for that matter for Ukraine? Do you really think your alienating people who are otherwise allies will in any way help Ukraine progress? Is that what your objective is, to help Ukraine, Or is it to show your delusion of importance in virtual reality by getting on here and arguing with someone over an opinion? NOTHING you can do or say will likely affect what Trump does or doesn’t do as President but here’s the thing, and this is why I stand up and challenge comments… because it CAN affect what others think.. because to some people, what they read over and over or hear over and over again become truth, regardless of the actual truth. Why do you think Russian trolls were sent out in swarms against Ukraine and the US?
            If you propagate BS that is based on fiction or opinion served as fact, which has no purpose other than to be destructive, then you’re part of that propaganda effort whether you know it or not. The entire Russian narrative that the establishment started after their candidate lost, does nothing but weaken the US and sets up a perfect Putin opportunity to accomplish two things with one effort. Thanks to the Democrats and Liberal establishment’s help in their quest to weaken Trump in an act of preservative desperation, Putin now has managed to turn the false narrative of “Russia hacking the election and affecting the outcome”, to a position where it does his work for him to weaken the incoming President and provide the mechanism to frustrate American role in his affairs by letting his establishment friends and clueless politicians play the “russian card” every time something involving Russia comes up, where Trump will be villified for any action he takes, regardless of what it is, as if it was part of some sinister plan. How do you think that’s going to play out for the benefit of Ukraine? For that matter, how do you think your fight against a new administration with the same vitriolic BS and character assassination that was continuous throughout the election season, would play out if it were amplified across the Ukrainian diaspora? Do you honestly think an such a hateful, antagonistic view and relationship with the new administration is going to somehow benefit Ukraine? Talk about poor judgement.

            For someone who knows as much about me as I do you, you sure have no problem telling me who I am and what I think and what’s important to me. I’m not interested in proving myself to you or anyone else and I’ll continue to speak up and call out what I believe to be not in the best interest of the two nations most important to me. If you don’t like it, tough sh*T.

          5. Avatar Alex George says:

            Dalton, seriously, just GFY, you pathetic whiny little snowflake.

            Its not that I can’t enlighten you, its that I choose not to. I have debated these issues many times on Euromaidan Press, remember? Oh that’s right – you don’t, because you weren’t there. Because those threads were not about Trump

            And yes, I do think that alienating you will help Ukraine’s cause, because so far I see nothing positive that you have to offer. You are only here to argue about Trump. If you say you care about Ukraine, prove it.

            So go right ahead, my friend, be alienated. If you don’t like it, tough sh*T.

      2. Avatar Scradje says:

        You are virtually the only commenter who is both pro-Trump and pro-Ukraine. You only have to read trumpoid/putinoid sites like breitbart, infowars etc to see that the overwhelming number of trumpoids also admire the miniature chekist thug and mass murderer. I think you are wrong to defend trump’s position on Russia/Ukraine, but will be the first to congratulate you if in future you are proved to be correct. Trump’s ghastly car crash interview with George Stefanopulous on Crimea/Ukraine can be seen in full transcript. He has never renounced his ridiculous words.

        1. Avatar slavko says:

          We must be practical with what we have available Scradje. I sincerely doubt that staunch Ukrainian opposition to Trump at this point of the game will hardly serve the Ukrainian national purpose while a level of support will. Time with patience and due credit must be given.

          1. Avatar Geralt von RIva says:

            you mean appease will help?^^

          2. Avatar Geralt von RIva says:

            “Bannon calls on the media to “keep their mouths”
            Donald Trumps Chefstrategic in an interview with journalists: They should be quiet and listen. “You are the opposition,” said Steve Bannon. All developments in the newsblog”

            like adolf. we should appease it^^.

          3. Avatar laker48 says:

            Just shut up, listen and watch! Trump won’t go anywhere for the next four years. He’s now the most powerful man on the globe and he promised to have Germany spend at least 2% of its GDP on defence or pay the difference to the US. He means this. No more German army exercises with broomsticks in lieu of rifles. Chancellor Merkel is in panic.

          4. Avatar Geralt von RIva says:

            i think we should help the oppressed mesxicans, they deserve it. perhaps a free trade agreement.^^
            usa only allowed to export to mexico if they build plants there.

          5. Avatar laker48 says:

            It’s not my problem.

          6. Avatar Alex George says:

            Then why make dumb suggestions when you haven’t thought the issue through?

          7. Avatar Geralt von RIva says:

            goes up, because of the wall. lol

            http://www.finanzen.net/aktien/HeidelbergCement-Aktie

          8. Avatar Alex George says:

            Chancellor Merkel does not look remotely in a panic, and Trump being the most powerful man in the world is only relative. There are plenty of constraints on his power, even in the US.

            And no, he can’t tell Germany what it is going to spend on defence .

          9. Avatar laker48 says:

            “And no, he can’t tell Germany what it is going to spend on defence.”
            Yes, he can, as Germany has signed the Atlantic Charter that imposes on all NATO member states the duty of spending at least 2% of their GDP on defence. Only eight out of 28 of them, the US, the UK and France included, meet their obligations, among them Estonia and Poland. Germany still contributes to the costs of maintenance of US military bases on its territory and the US can force it to contribute more or move them out to Romania, Poland and the Baltic States with Germany paying for them. He can also come up with an ultimatum that RuSSia pay all UN dues in arrears since the Soviet era or expel almost all UN RuSSian personnel, leaving just skeletal staff of fewer than 10. He can, he may and he probably will, while the Republicans won’t mind it.

          10. Avatar Alex George says:

            “Only eight out of 28 of them, the US, the UK and France included, meet their obligations”

            Even if that were correct, you have just admitted that Trump can’t tell Germany what to do. Which was my point.

            “and the US can force it to contribute more or move them out to Romania, Poland and the Baltic States”

            Good, then do it then. As if Germany will care. My points stands – Trump can’t force Germany to pay more. He can persuade, but he can’t force. So cut out all of this pompous strutting BS.

            “He can also come up with an ultimatum that RuSSia …”

            More pompous strutting BS. He can do that and it will be entirely meaningless. Grow up.

          11. Avatar Dale Davies says:

            Possible, but the combover is busy kissing the Czar’s butt. Part of NATO’s issue is some members are small and may find 2% of GDP difficult during tight financial times. Pretty much mandatory with Fuhrer Shorty the Shirtless’ belligerence!