Monday, July 16, 2018

So This Is How We are Playing America First Now?

This is no way to put America first.

Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!

President Trump is 100% wrong to blame the bad state of Russian-US relations on America.

Russia has been a problem for a long time, and as far as I'm concerned we weren't tough enough on the Soviets when we defeated them in the Cold War. Although Russian nukes made an alternative impossible.

Also, I don't want to hear a damn word from Democrats given their sudden conversion to worrying about the Russians. That concern evaporates the second Trump leaves office.

But I don't know what the Hell Trump is doing figuratively bowing to Putin in Helsinki. Sad.

UPDATE: And yes, despite the president's denial, Russia interfered in our 2016 election--as they and their Soviet predecessors did up until then routinely--but I do not think the Russians were trying to get Trump elected (and no, they didn't "hack" our election process, as in changing results) as much as they were trying to harm the expected winner Clinton--they could read our polling data as well as anyone here--and sow chaos to make the example of American democracy look less appealing to Russians and others around the world.

UPDATE: On the bright side, it appears to be an Optical Yalta only, with no actual concessions to Russia. Whether that horrible Trump blame game will be more than a temporary embarrassment like the "more flexibility after the election" fiasco is the question, I suppose.

And I bring this up not in defense of Trump's statement, but to highlight the dramatic change of heart by Democrats on the Russia issue that they are going crazy over today.

I welcome Democrats to the anti-Russian camp. I hope they retain this attitude when Trump is gone.

UPDATE: The next day the optics of the trip still stink. I didn't expect that. But I did expect that nothing of substance bad would result. That seems to be the case:

Trump didn’t recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, announce a troop pullout from Syria, promise to disband NATO, withdraw U.S. troops from Germany or stop the deployment of U.S. anti-missile defenses in Eastern Europe. He didn’t give up his opposition to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany or express regret about his decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine. In fact, he did nothing that could be construed as undermining U.S. interests as traditionally understood. His comments revealed no freebies to Putin or even any sign that the two leaders had attempted to negotiate compromises on the many substantive issues that divide their two countries.

The Putin-friendly optics mask American actions that Putin does not like. So talk of "treason" is purely ignorant on both substance and the law.

And no areas of agreement seem to have been forged on common interests. So I'm not sure what the point of the meeting was. I hope that Yalta Optics fade without causing damage.

One can't rule out that the public affection for Putin's position by Trump was meant to mask a harder message in private--one that Putin accepted--to back off attempts to influence our 2018 election.

UPDATE: On the bright side, President Trump conceded election interference:

"I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump said Tuesday. But he added, as he usually does, "It could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all."

But I can't go along with his blame on America for poor Russian-American relations. I was unhappy with President Obama's "apology tour" and outreach to enemies that never worked and only worried friends; so I cannot go along with the outreach to Putin or Erdogan. I had scorn for Obama's attempt to prop up Erdogan as an example of "tame" Islamism compatible with democracy and can't support a public friendship with the man by Trump.

If Trump's approach works, I'll change my assessment as any reasonable person should when facts change.

UPDATE: Much to criticize in style, no doubt. But for God's sake, get a grip.