Tag Archives: vladimir putin

Trump vs China

Is Trump the “Asia pivot” candidate?

Looking at the difference between Trump’s and Hillary’s attitudes towards Russia, one can’t help but feel that there’s something deeper going on.  Hillary’s hostility to Russia, contrasted with Trump’s amiable gestures, raises the question of what Trump’s objectives are.  Or more accurately, those of the team of national security insiders he has assembled, including former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michael Flynn.

Let’s get this out of the way: it is not non-interventionism, no matter what some libertarians may wish to believe about Trump.  These are serious military-industrial complex heavy-hitters in his inner circle.  He is not against using American power, he is simply pushing a different agenda from the neocons formerly in power.  His well-known antipathy to China may provide a clue.  Here’s Trump’s plan to “get tough” on China (there is no “get tough” on Russia plan):

Declare China A Currency Manipulator
End China’s Intellectual Property Violations
Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages
Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas

Donald Trump campaign website, July 30, 2016

Increased trade barriers, sparking a possible trade war, combined with amped up military presence in China’s backyard sends a pretty clear signal of Trump’s intentions.  This falls in line with the elite foreign policy consensus of an “Asia pivot” in the past few years – away from the Middle East and towards containing a rising China.  Let Russia help us mop up ISIS and “radical Islam”, Trump seems to argue, which leaves us free to confront China.

At a press conference a few days ago, Trump said he doesn’t want to see Russia and China “teaming up”.  He seems to understand, or has been made to understand, the fears underlying thia Asia pivot.  Closer military and economic cooperation between Russia and China presents a major stumbling block to Western globalist hegemony.  The election contest between Trump and Hillary can be seen as a contest between the foreign policy realist “pivot” faction and the anti-Russia neocons.  Far from ushering in an era of non-interventionism, Trump would merely shift the target of American power.

Donald Trump and Edward Snowden

Will President Trump get Edward Snowden?

Since Trump and Putin seem to like each other, is it likely that a President Trump’s newly-befriended Russia would throw Edward Snowden under the extradition bus?

Let’s see what Trump has said about Snowden.

I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country — you know what we used to do to traitors, right?
The Washington Times, July 2, 2013

When you just asked the question about Snowden, I will tell you right from the beginning, I said he was a spy and we should get him back.  And if Russia respected our country, they would have sent him back immediately, but he was a spy. It didn’t take me a long time to figure that one out.
Newsweek, March 4, 2016

Here’s what Putin has said about Trump.

[Donald Trump is] a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt.  It’s not our job to judge his qualities, that’s a job for American voters, but he’s the absolute leader in the presidential race. … He says he wants to move on to a new, more substantial relationship, a deeper relationship with Russia, how can we not welcome that?  Of course we welcome that.
The Political Insider, December 17, 2015

And what Trump said of Putin.

It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.  I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.
CNN, December 17, 2015

With warmed relations, Snowden may quickly lose his value as a geopolitical “trump” card and find himself on a one-way flight to Guantanamo.  Maybe he should start country shopping?