Did Trump Scam Russia’s Putin?

Now that the FBI might be investigating Russian involvement in the U.S. 2016 election, we need to ask ourselves a serious question: Did Vladimir Putin just become another misled investor scammed in a Trump deal?

Buyer’s remorse

Given the shoddy ROI of then-mogul Trump’s real estate deals, Russian President Putin may want to reconsider what — if anything — he bought from the @RealDonaldTrump Administration. Did Moscow make as big a miscalculation dealing with President @RDP as American voters made by voting for him? Did our Ice-to-Eskimo selling Commander in Chief just sell Borscht to the Kremlin?

Seriously. Someone tell me what they think the ultimate benefits are for Russia or what Russia’s ultimate threat is to the USA here, in terms of this being worth the cost (triggering a serious anti-Russia backlash).

Is the @RealDonaldTrump Administration going to make more classified U.S. intelligence data available to Moscow, to the detriment of U.S. allies in Europe, Israel, etc.? Is Bannon going to sell Alaska back to Russia? Is the U.S. going to start importing billions of dollars of Russian oil? Is the U.S. going to provide financial/material support to the Russian military to invade/occupy Eastern Europe, or maybe re-invading Afghanistan?

That first one does seem realistic. Add to it the idea that a Russia-influenced @RDP Administration will weaken NATO: if not by reducing or delaying U.S. financial/material support, then by influencing other NATO members to do the same.

But if those are one’s concerns (they are among mine), then why would either of those matter? What is NATO for, someone like Bernie Sanders might argue, except preparing for military conflicts that NATO’s very existence might be helping create?

And putting this in the context of Russia and the world…Broadly speaking the strategic options for Russia, Putin’s Smiling Autocracy aside, is either (a) translating natural resources (oil, gas, minerals) into more innovation and economic growth outside of those extractive industries or (b) decline and vulnerability relative to neighboring EU and China. It’s hard to imagine how one gets to Option (A) without more cultural and economic engagement with the rest of the world — more trade, more liberalization, etc. Putin’s approach to that will be more like that of similarly autocratic-capitalist China and the Gulf States, but that doesn’t change the overall trend.

So really, it seems like the most substantial reason to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election is *that there was involvement*, more than what that involvement might yield. It’s the fact that the @RealDonaldTrump crew made shady plans with agents of the Russian government, even if the ineptitude of their schemes reach Bluth-like levels.

Or am I missing something?

The Moscow City Shuffle — Overthinking the Shifting American Right/Left Positions Towards Putin and…

This is an interesting piece from Debka File (Debka is a somewhat Israel-Aligned Intelligence Analysis website). Would love to get ya’ll’s thoughts on this. (Article Link: http://www.debka.com/article/25875/Why-Trump-and-US-intel-clash-over-Russia)

Growing up with books like “Political Pilgrims” (http://a.co/cYa9PA8), there is quite a shift from the Cold War days with the Popular Left’s turn against Russia/Moscow — not just being against Putin, but indiscrimintely using “Russia” and “Moscow”.

Likewise from what little I ever learned about KGB “Dezinformatsiya” and even more contemporary information about the extent of Russian intelligence operations in the USA, it is surprising to see how quick people are to leap to the conclusion that they have out-sleuthed a generations-old spy culture that was dogfighting the British Empire back when the USA was in World Power diapers.

The shift among the American Right is harder to read. The neoconservatives still seem to look at Russia as if the Cold War never ended, and in plenty of ways I think they are right. But maybe it is the break with the Bush/Rice era that the vigilance against Russia is seen as outdated or ignorant or maybe just unpopular.

And how odd to see the Left praising the efficiency and principles of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies! How glad they are to see the CIA, NSA, et al. weighing in on domestic politics now.

I am uncomfortable with the New Right (or “Alt Right” as Huffington Post et al. label them) pundits seem to cheer Putin. I worry about their grounding in history, and perhaps being this Russia’s new wave of fellow travelers in the USA.

I wonder how much of these shifts are intentional and how much are unintended “drifts”. I can imagine that many of the U.S. Elite now see China as the Long Term Enemy with Radical Islam as the Short Term Enemy, with Russia as an ally in both fights.

Pres-elect Trump says he is taking back the Winston Churchill bust that the Obama Administration ineptly rejected. Maybe the Trump Team is resuming Churchhill’s complicated relationship with the Russia of Stalin’s USSR?

Perhaps they see Putin’s victories in George and Ukraine as signs that it is better to work with him than to beat him, especially when working against “The Real Enemies”. Then maybe they see the precedent of recent decades — Putin/Medvedev playing the role of “Beneficent Dictator” for USA logistics and military operations in Afghanistan/Iraq/Syria etc. — as a sign that Russia is easier to work with when you give in.

How successful will these be?

For one thing, the Chinese threat isn’t really “China” but the Recidivist/New Chinese Right (the new generation of Political Military Elite who grew up believing their own rhetoric of Superiority over the USA, as well as real Chinese successes in technology and economic growth).

In that context, how will the -Stans see a U.S. lean/deference towards Russia, and will this incline them more towards a China that is already building out more and more infrastructure and investment?

What effect will this have on NATO? And when European governments like Germany’s come to another moment of Restructuring their Relationship with Russia (they still get a lot of natural gas from Russia, increasingly trade more with Russia, and have at least one ex-PM who works for the European-side of a Russian oil/gas company), will they lean more towards Russia/Putin? And in what way will this stir the forces straining the capacity of the European Union?

We could play the Counterfactual/Alternate Future game all day (and I’d love to, if anyone wants to posit anything in the Comment section).

Also, I wonder what roles the Israeli Government factions and Israeli Lobbies in America are playing in this shift.

Is there some hubris on the American side? Probably. And maybe the Trump Admin and New Right think that they can play Putin.

But I imagine it could more easily work the other way around.

What do you all think?