Monday, July 3, 2017
Just pokin' the bear....
Later this week President Donald Trump will meet one-on-one with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the G20 summit in Germany. Putin has over the past two decades proven to be a master geopolitical manipulator. He managed to take over a run-down, disastrously managed piece of real estate and then bluffed his way onto the Big Stage.
Let's be honest for a moment....Russia is just a second-rate conventional power, with a nuclear arsenal they won't dare use. Putin understands "Mutually Assured Destruction" as well as Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev before him did.
At one time Putin had considerable leverage over Europe by threatening to withhold from them Russian natural gas shipments. Europe has wisely worked around that threat and has in fact grown a pretty impressive backbone, led by Germany's Angela Merkel. Growing up in Communist East Germany, she knows full well the evil reach of the Russian bear. Even the new French President, Emmanuel "Pretty Boy" Macron, has shown he's willing to stand up to Putin.
After Putin blatantly sent his forces into Ukraine and seized the Crimean peninsula, the supposedly limp-wristed Barack Obama joined our European allies and others to put crippling economic sanctions on Russia. And after Putin's people were caught red-handed cyber-messing with the US, Obama again bitch-slapped him by seizing two Russian-owned compounds in America and sending home a planeload of Russian "diplomats".
Meanwhile, back in America, President Trump is reportedly paying scant attention to anything "Russia" when the topic comes up in his regular security briefings, infuriating all our intelligence chiefs who know full well of the growing Russian mischief. Trump has zero knowledge of and zero interest in learning anything about geopolitics. For 71 years his interest has been in making money, not practicing international relations, and it looks like he isn't going to change his ways now.
Putin will be coming into the G20 meeting with guns blazing. He will reportedly be demanding the two properties back in America, and will be wanting a rollback of the earlier economic sanctions imposed on his Russia. Our European allies are standing pretty firm against giving Putin a second chance. They for good reason don't trust him....he's in their back yard!
All eyes at the G20 will be on Donald Trump's response. Will the leader of the most powerful economic and military power in the history of the world stand firm with Merkel and Macron and the rest of Europe, or will he cave to Putin? Which begs the question: If he caves, why? What incriminating evidence does Putin have on Trump?
The infamous "dossier" compiled by a former British MI6 agent, the basis for a special investigation now underway by Robert Mueller, suggests the Russians have compromising sexual or financial material on him. Trump of course denies it all. I predict that if Donald Trump caves, the dossier conspiracy theorists will gain immense credibility.
If Trump is scared to call out Putin for the gangster he is, I'm not. My blog pageviews from Russia have already shot through the roof. I'm apparently already a burr under somebody's* saddle there, and I'm loving it!
* Probably a computer algorithm keeping track of negative comments about Mother Russia.
LATE EDIT: This on Yahoo News this morning...
Exciting times we live in!