Trump escalates, Putin congratulates

By   /   December 27, 2016  /   28 Comments

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With 115 characters, Donald Trump declared a return to a global nuclear arms race.

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It started…

It started on 23 December, when President-Elect, Donald Trump made this unexpected, alarming  “tweet”;

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With 115 characters, Donald Trump declared a return to a global nuclear arms race.

It started on 9 November, when Trump – described by BBC journalist 

It started in 1949, when George Orwell’s Nineteen Eightyfour was published,   an  alternative reality of a world ruled by  three totalitarian superpowers, constantly at war with each other;

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It started in 1948, with the beginning of the “Cold War”…

The Scene is set…

Trump’s 23 December “tweet” that the US will resume a build-up of its atomic weapons arsenal should come as no surprise. On 8 September, on the campaign trail, he announced;

“History shows that when America is not prepared is when the danger is greatest. We want to deter, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military dominance.

I’m gonna build a military that’s gonna be much stronger than it is right now. It’s gonna be so strong, nobody’s gonna mess with us.”

The Military Times assessed Trump’s promised build-up of US forces;

Trump wants an active-duty Army with another 60,000 soldiers in the ranks, an unspecified number of additional sailors to man the 78 ships and submarines he intends to see built in coming years. He wants up to 12,000 more Marines to serve in infantry and tank battalions, and at least another 100 combat aircraft for the Air Force.

If Trump’s administration can accomplish even a portion of this, it could have sweeping effects on rank-and-file military personnel, touching everything from individual advancement opportunities to the number of U.S. troops stationed overseas and overall operational tempo. The scope of growth being suggested would require many more officers and noncommissioned officers, influencing, over the course of several years, how each service recruits, promotes and retains its workforce.

It could reshape how many American troops find themselves assigned to geopolitical hot spots, including the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. And all of this, in theory, would ease the pace at which service members are deployed or actively preparing to go overseas, which amounts to time away from their homes and families.

Curiously, none of Trump’s hyper-jingoistic election rhetoric seemed to faze Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. On the contrary, Putin remained zen-like  and complimentary  of the billionaire-turned-politician. In December 2015, Putin was reported in state media, Sputnik, as saying;

“He is a very bright person, talented without any doubt. It is not our business to assess his worthiness, but he is the absolute leader of the presidential race. He says he wants to move to a different level of relations — a fuller, deeper [level] — with Russia, how can we not welcome this? Of course we welcome this.”

Putin’s comments were also reported in Russian state-controlled media, RT News.

A veritable “love-fest” of compliments were exchanged between the two men. A “bro-mance” had obviously developed between the Oligarch and the Billionaire;

Trump: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

Trump: “He is really very much of a leader. The man has very strong control over his country. Now, it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

Both Putin and leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen, congratulated Trump on his presidential success.

Their relationship continued, even as Trump ‘tweeted’ on 23 December that the “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability“.

Putin seeming remained utterly unperturbed at Trump‘s sabre-rattling;

“I was a bit surprised by the statements from some representatives of the current U.S. administration who for some reason started to prove that the U.S. military was the most powerful in the world.

Nobody is arguing with that.

In the course of his election campaign he (Trump) spoke about the necessity of strengthening the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and strengthening the armed forces. There’s nothing unusual here.”

Perhaps because Russia is also considering a build-up of its atomic arsenal, as Putin himself stated on 22 December;

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defence systems.

We must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralising threats to our country.”

So Who is the enemy?!

If, as Putin and Trump are at pains to assert, their relationship is on firm, cordial grounds – why the need for a massive modernisation and build-up of both superpower’s military force? A build-up that could cost both nations billions of dollars and rubles?

Who is the enemy?

Relations between Russia (formerly Soviet Union), China, and the US has always been a “balancing act”.  The three have constantly played each other off against each other.

In Nineteen Eightyfour, Orwell took the three-superpower rivalry to its ultimate, destructive, insane conclusion;

On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns — after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces — at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy…

[…]

Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

Our own three super-powers

In 1972, then Republican-president, Richard Nixon made his historical trip to the People’s Republic of China. As History.com portrayed the momentous event;

The American fear of a monolithic communist bloc had been modified, as a war of words—and occasional border conflicts—erupted between the Soviet Union and the PRC in the 1960s. Nixon, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger saw a unique opportunity in these circumstances—diplomatic overtures to the PRC might make the Soviet Union more malleable to U.S. policy requests (such as pressuring the North Vietnamese to sign a peace treaty acceptable to the United States). In fact, Nixon was scheduled to travel to meet Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev shortly after completing his visit to China.

Nixon’s trip to China, therefore, was a move calculated to drive an even deeper wedge between the two most significant communist powers. The United States could use closer diplomatic relations with China as leverage in dealing with the Soviets, particularly on the issue of Vietnam. In addition, the United States might be able to make use of the Chinese as a counterweight to North Vietnam. Despite their claims of socialist solidarity, the PRC and North Vietnam were, at best, strongly suspicious allies. As historian Walter LaFeber said, “Instead of using Vietnam to contain China, Nixon concluded that he had better use China to contain Vietnam.” For its part, the PRC was desirous of another ally in its increasingly tense relationship with the Soviet Union and certainly welcomed the possibility of increased U.S.-China trade.

That increased trade eventuated with then-President Jimmy Carter  consenting to  China gaining  a “Most Favoured Nation” in 1980; re-affirmed by Bill Clinton in 1994, and later by George W Bush in 2001.

However, in recent times, China has flexed its military muscle and increased its presence in the South China Sea. This has set it on a collision course with other regional neighbours, as well as the United States;

Chinese expansion in the South China Sea is bringing conflict between Beijing and its neighbours – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam – closer than it has been for decades. Vietnam has fortified several islands it controls, while Japan has been publicly rebuked by Beijing over its ‘interference’ in the sea – most of which China claims. The Philippines has called for “restraint and sobriety” as its own dispute with Beijing rumbles on.

But the South China Sea and a lesser-known spat with Japan over islands near Taiwan has not only brought talk of a regional war in the Pacific to the fore, but raised the prospect of the US being dragged into open warfare with China. Beijing’s expansionism threatens not only the interests of US allies in East Asia but also global trade, given that some 40% of all shipping passes through the disputed area of ocean.

“As horrific as a Sino-US war could be, it cannot be considered implausible,” warned the authors of the RAND Corporations August report, War with China: Thinking through the Unthinkable.

[…]

But in reality US-China relations have been strained for some time, as demonstrated by the scrutiny of Barack Obama’s visit to Hangzhou, where American reporters scuffled with Chinese security staff and Beijing was widely accused of snubbing the US president on his final international visit. Chinese hacking of US companies has been widespread, leading to America’s indictment of five senior Chinese army officers in May 2014.

Meanwhile in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Chinese expansion has come at the expense of major US allies, including Japan. Japan’s ownership of the Senkaku Islands, north of Taiwan, is enshrined in the US-Japan Treaty that was signed after the end of the Second World War. China’s increasingly hostile stance towards its neighbour over the islands risks dragging the US into a conflict between Beijing and Tokyo.

This has already resulted in confrontations  between the two nuclear super-powers;

A U.S. navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Friday, drawing a warning from Chinese warships to leave the area.

The U.S. action was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, U.S. officials said.

The Chinese Defense Ministry called the move “illegal” and “provocative,” saying that two Chinese warships had warned the U.S. destroyer to leave.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur challenged “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The latest U.S. patrol, first reported by Reuters, is expected to anger Beijing and could further escalate tensions over the South China Sea. The destroyer sailed within waters claimed by China, close to but not within the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands, the officials said.

The U.S.  shows little sign in backing down, as Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral, John Richardson, said during a trip to China in July this year;

“The U.S. Navy will continue to conduct routine and lawful operations around the world, including in the South China Sea, in order to protect the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of sea and airspace guaranteed to all. This will not change.”

A spokesperson for the incoming Trump Administration, Sean Spicer was equally belligerent (without specifically mentioning China);

“I think it’s putting every nation on notice that the United States is going to reassert its position in the globe.”

Trump himself has made antagonistic and disparaging remarks about China;

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The CNN report continued;

Trump has repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency to make its exports more competitive on the global market and has claimed that China is “killing” the U.S. on trade.

Sunday marks the first time in this campaign that Trump has used the term “rape” to refer to what he views as China’s dominance in trade with the U.S.

“We’re going to turn it around. And we have the cards, don’t forget it. We’re like the piggy bank that’s being robbed. We have the cards. We have a lot of power with China,” Trump said Sunday before referring to China’s relationship with the U.S. as rape.

Trump added that he is not “angry at China,” but with U.S. leaders whom he accused of being “grossly incompetent.”

Trump previously claimed in 2011 that “China is raping this country” as he toured a defense manufacturer in New Hampshire.

Many considered the  doomed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement to be designed to contain China;

From its inception, the TPP has been considered by many as a strategic instrument to isolate or contain China. Given the country’s ambitions, its leaders are understandably concerned about the concerted effort by the U.S. and other Asia-Pacific countries to curtail its economic growth and geopolitical influence.

China’s outsider status could also be seen as an indictment of its inadequacies, such as limited intellectual property protection and a lack of government procurement standards. The exclusion of China not only has caused the country to lose face, but has also provided a painful reminder of its continued struggle to gain an equal status in the international community. Finally, the lack of TPP membership will prevent China from enjoying new tariff reduction and preferential market access. If this regional pact is to operate according to design, it will divert trade and manufacturing from China to TPP members.

Our own expert and campaigner, Jane Kelsey, also remarked on the anti-China nature of the TPPA;

“In the past month both US presidential candidates have positioned the TPP at the centre of their strategy to neutralise China’s ascendancy in what they call the ‘Pacific’ region.

New Zealand already faces the prospect of being piggy in the middle, with potentially conflicting rules and foreign policy pressures from agreements with China and the USA.

Tim Groser is kidding himself if he thinks China will sit quietly by and allow us to play both sides. This is a high-risk game and we need to have an honest debate about its long-term implications for the country.”

Note President Obama’s statements over China’s increasing geo-political influence;

“And we believe China can be a partner, but we’re also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there.

We are working with countries in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through, that commerce continues.

And we’re organizing trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards. That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown in the region. That’s the kind of leadership that we’ll continue to show.

As part of his populist campaigning this year, Trump publicly rejected the TPPA. This left him to devise other options to “contain China”.

The Trump Deal between Russia and US

The new-found rapprochement between Russia and the US could be based on mutual interest. With Trump’s penchant for deal-making, the U.S. and Russia would have much to gain by stitching together a secret deal.

In return for the U.S. gaining Russian support against growing Chinese influence in the South China Sea, Trump would allow Russia a free hand in supporting its ally, Syria (where U.S.  interests are minimal anyway, unlike the Pacific).

This would explain why the U.S. and Russia have been ‘cosying’ up together.

More critically, it answers the perplexing question as to why Russia seems utterly unperturbed at American plans to build up its military. And why the U.S. seems to have stepped back from taking action over Syria.

Nixon went to China.

Trump may be going to Moscow.

Oceania has always been at war with Russia China.

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSb-eHbNjrQ&w=560&h=315]

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References

Twitter: Donald J Trump

BBC: US Election 2016 Results – Five reasons Donald Trump won

Wikipedia: Nineteen Eightyfour

CNN: Trump calls for military spending increase

Military Times: Trump’s military will have more troops and more firepower — if he can find more money

Sputnik: Putin Welcomes Trump’s Words of Readiness to Improve Russia-US Relations

RT News: Putin says ‘talented’ Trump is ‘absolute front-runner,’ welcomes pledge to work with Russia

Business Insider: Here’s a look at what Trump and Putin have said about each other

The Independent: Vladimir Putin congratulates US President Donald Trump as Russian leaders celebrate

RT News: ‘So correct’: Trump responds to Putin’s holiday letter

Reuters: Putin shrugs off Trump’s nuclear plans, says Democrats sore losers

ITV News: Trump and Putin both hint at expansion of nuclear arsenal

Ebook: Ninetween Eightyfour

History: 1972 – Nixon arrives in China for talks

CNN: Clinton Proposes Renewing China’s Most-Favored Trade Status

China.org.cn: Chronology of China-US Relations

The Tech: Clinton Grants China MFN, Reversing Campaign Pledge

International Business Times: Could the South China Sea dispute trigger a Sino-US war?

NY Times: Trump Says U.S. Would ‘Outmatch’ Rivals in a New Nuclear Arms Race

CNN: Trump – ‘We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country’

Fortune: How China’s exclusion from the TPP could hurt its economic growth

It’s Our Future: Obama casts TPP as Challenge to China

Washington Times: Inside the Ring – Obama, Romney on China

Previous related blogposts

Taiwan FTA – Confirmation by TVNZ of China pressuring the Beehive?

The Rise of Great Leader Trump

The Sweet’n’Sour Deliciousness of Irony: Russia accused of meddling in US Election

Protestors condemn Russian involvement in atrocities in Aleppo

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28 Comments

  1. richarquis says:

    Of course Putin is calm. Put him and Trump in a chess game, and you know who’s going to win.

    • garibaldi says:

      What do you want Frank? Pax Americana? One-World Order?
      I look at the USA and I , for one, don’t want a world run by their version of “freedom”. What a hell of a freedom the Deep State is offering/foisting on us.

      • You haven’t actually read what I wrote, have you, Garibaldi?

        • garibaldi says:

          Sorry Frank. I do not hold the theory that China is the big threat. Nato has been itching for confrontation with the Russia/China bloc for yonks and is applying pressure accordingly. Your theory is, however, plausible so good on you. Time will tell .

  2. Dave Brown says:

    The US will lose this one, assuming WW3 doesn’t happen. Oceania has suffered a defeat in the Middle East (West Asia?) The impending breakup of the EU and the switch of Turkey from NATO to SCO is heading towards Orwell’s Eurasia. As Orwell anticipates, the disputed territory is naturally contiguous with and in the sphere of influence of either or both Eurasia and EastAsia, which today are firmly linked in a military, economic and diplomatic union.
    If we read Marx rather than Orwell the solution lies in the prospect that workers united across these geopolitical entities can win the class war and replace the rival imperialist powers with a single world red federation.

  3. LOSTRELIC says:

    Great work Frank, as usual. Happy holidays to you.
    Comparison’s with 1984 are certainly apt at this moment. I felt – at least over the past few decades – that Huxley’s Brave New Worldian views were more on point, but perhaps we have entered a significant transition between the two. We have been teetering upon a threshold of “tolerance”, “political correctness”, without fundamentally addressing the problems at their source, in self-centred states of mind. In such an environment, it is only a matter of time before individual and collective tolerance reaches it’s limits – perhaps the election of Trump will be remembered as such a moment in history.

  4. Tom Gardner says:

    A spot of pedantry:
    (1) The possessive form of its does not take an apostrophe
    (2) You meant faze (not phase)

    • Not ‘pedantry’ at all, Tom. The person who does my proofreading is away (proofreading one’s own work leads to errors). I think I’ve found all the typos.

      Thanks for letting me know.

  5. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Frank, you should know by now that it is all a puppet show, put on by the unseen, unheard REAL owners and REAL controllers of America.

    Forget the politicians, they are just put there by the REAL owners and controllers to provide a smokescreen and create the in mind’s of the dumbed-down masses the illusion they have some say in who runs the country and what the policies will be. In practice, the USA is a fascist police state with a crumbling empire it can neither hang on to nor voluntarily relinquish.

    The notion that the POTUS has any real power or say in anything is ludicrous: his job is to deceive and betray the masses (just as the smiling assassin did in NZ), and is allowed to enrich himself at the expense of the commoners as one of the many perks for deceiving the masses. It pays to remember that the last president to even attempt to stand up to the REAL controllers was eliminated in a hail of bullets in 1963. It also pays to remember that it was Carter who declared the oil in the Middle East ‘America’s oil’, and instituted policies to acquire it by force.

    The latest rhetoric is all about ramping up the fear level to facilitate the manufacture and sale of yet more weapons, which will provide profits for corporations. It does not matter too much whether the weapons are actually used (though all parties do like minor conflicts to test weapons under combat conditions). Nowadays the main agenda is to get weapons manufactured at taxpayer expense and then have them stored for long enough for them to become obsolete and require upgrade or replacement.

    What is really interesting is that the US spends more on military hardware than the rest of the world combined, and individual items up to ten times the cost of similar items manufactured elsewhere in the world. “War is a racket{ -major General Smedley Butler.

    The other major agenda -apart from manufacturing a vast surplus of weapons- is the continued control and exploitation of energy and mineral resources. Both America and China are ‘up the creek without a paddle’ in that respect; America peaked in conventional oil extraction decades ago and is dependent on short-lived fracking wells and imports to keep it going in the short term until it can gain control of Russia’s oil wealth; China is even deeper shit, having a rapidly growing oil dependence and little domestic extraction -hence the great interest is the oil and gas fields that lie between China and Australia.

    So, the vast wealth of Russia is the real target, and ‘Oceania has always been at war with Russia’, well certainly since the Crimean War. The brief periods 1914 to 1917 and 1941 to 1945 were a case of ‘Oceania’ using Russia to drain Germany of energy, resources and manpower.

    Trump will attempt to extract Russian wealth by stealth, and will fail. Putin knows what the game is and is a far better player than any westerner. Whether Trump is foolish enough to leas America into an attempt to extract Russian wealth by force is yet to be seen, but we can be sure such an attempt will fail.

    That said, we live in desperate times.

  6. Nick says:

    I agree that Putin plans to appear to become an ally of the US in their trade war with China. It’s called seeing which way the wind blows. This smokescreen will give them a free pass to pursue their own interests: a developing hegemonic structure that allows a return to Greater Russia.

    Trump may like the idea of collaboration too, but his supporters will go on beating their chests about winning the cold war. Putin for domestic reasons will have to respond and eventually the free pass he thinks he can extract will expire leaving the world in a worse position than we are now.

    Meanwhile China, whose actual interest is not World Domination, but supply-chain security, will go on buying up what they can and securing supply routes. And with no macho chest thumping, they will be forgotten as the former friends, Trump and Putin square off.

    Unless, of course, the Russians have managed to get something BIG on Trump. In which case all bets are off.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      ‘This smokescreen will give them a free pass to pursue their own interests: a developing hegemonic structure that allows a return to Greater Russia.’

      That is a very silly notion, clearly born of gross ignorance, since Russia is already a far greater nation than the US, China or indeed any other.

      Russia has more land, more fresh water, more trees, more oil, more natural gas, more gold…. more of practically everything, including the capacity to put humans into Earth orbit and weapons that work effectively, including the factory that produces most successful combat weapon ever invented and manufactured:

      Russia 17,098,246 million km2
      China 9,596,961
      USA 9,525,067

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependencies_by_area

      The one thing Russia does not have is more people, and that is the one thing that is an extreme negative on a planet that is already grossly overpopulated and about to go into population collapse as a consequence of runaway greenhouse, resource depletion and energy depletion.

      China 1,380,640,000
      US 325,236,000
      Russia 146,727,405

      And on the matter of people, the Russians are amongst the most educated and cultured people in the world, leaving the criminals and clowns that run America and other western nations and that make up the bulk of the populace for dead any day.

      The one thing Russia does not want is an empire, and Putin is well aware that having an empire is more trouble than it is worth. That is particularly true in a world that is grossly overpopulated and depleted of resources: more people = more trouble.

      That said, Putin has allowed a flood of people fleeing the neo-Nazis installed in Kiev by the Americans to cross into Russia for humanitarian reasons -at one stage reported as about 18,000 fleeing eastwards into Russia per day.

      https://www.usip.org/olivebranch/2015/11/23/ukraines-invisible-crisis-15-million-who-fled-war-russia

      Of course the corrupt western mainstream media would never report such facts because the corrupt western mainstream media are beating the drums of war, talking total bollocks about Russia amassing a tank army that will surge across Europe, (the same bollocks that was churned out throughout the Cold War) in order to brainwash the western masses into supporting expansion of NATO right up to Russia’s borders -in flagrant breach of the Reagan-Gorbachev agreement.

      Note that the US now has military personnel in Norway, the Baltic States, Poland, Ukraine etc. and they are certainly not there for ‘ defence’.

      What is really interesting is that America, following the pattern that has characterized it since the end of WW2, has made yet another fuck-up in attempting to overturn a legitimate government, this time in Syria. And has lost, yet again.

      America has played its cards very badly for decades and is now reaching the end of the line. The Russians and Chinese prefer to sit back and wait, laughing much of the time, but will certainly not buckle under attempted bullying from America any more. Putin made that very clear after the US changed its first-strike policy in 2010 (declaring it would use nuclear weapons to attempt to eliminate an opponent before the opponent had time to respond): since then Russia has devoted much resource to producing defensive systems but Putin has made it very clear that if America DOES attempt any first-strike it can expect a hail of nuclear warheads to wipe out all major American cities within minutes.

      That has led to a degree of caution amongst the warmongers that dominate American politics, America having fought all wars since the civil war with no significant casualties or damage.

      I say, thank goodness the world has Putin because without him America may well have already overrun Russia and turned it into a corrupt, crass, toxic dump similar to what America has become and would then be in a position to eliminate China and completely dominate the world…..which has been the western bankers’ plan for many decades, of course.

  7. CLEANGREEN says:

    Hope these two guys finally drain the “Corporate cesspool of these magnets” as they are eating out our people’s public owned global assets everywhere!!

    Corporates are using CIA/Black opp’s and Goldman Sachs as they first showed in Greece by forcing overseas financing of those assets and now are copying it successfully everywhere else now.

  8. countryboy says:

    I hope the arseholes kill each other off with virus’s and leave the planet to the beasties.
    We humans are a greedy, freaky, mistake and when we’re gone? Good riddence.

  9. Steve Rowe says:

    Oh yes this all started with Trump *Roll-Eyes*

    The Obama administration and Nato haven’t been baiting Russia at all have they? No, all very conciliatory from them.

    I mean – starting a new nuclear arms race with a tweet is not going to happen. Please stop with the Trump hysteria – it’s just getting childish now.

    • Hi Steve,

      So tell us, please, what part of the blogpost I wrote is factually incorrect?

      And also, please answer me this; if the Obama Administration and NATO were indeed “baiting” the Russians – how is Trump tweeting of an impending build-up of America’s atomic arsenal not baiting the Russians?!?!

      That bit has me perplexed.

      • Steve Rowe says:

        I think because the Russians are not stupid enough to think that a tweet is a delaration of a foriegn policy stance.

        Whereas the constant NATO and US proxy war in both Syria and the Ukraine could be seen as actual dangerous provocations.

        Even then Russia has acted with a cool head, looking to calm tensions.

        Take a look at State Dept. briefings with Kirby (here he makes a veiled threat of war https://youtu.be/AnefGPHty8c) They are cringeworthy and scary.

        So to say Trump is somehow ramping things up seems disingenuous at best. Most of his public stance on Russia is looking for détente.

      • Nitrium Nitrium says:

        I don’t think it baits the Russian’s because the Russians already have over 7,000 nukes. Indeed, the idea that having, say, 10,000 (or a million for that matter) nukes makes you “more powerful” than a country with only 7,000 nukes is completely fallacious. Putin is far too smart to fall for such obvious rhetoric, even if he does pay it some token lip service.

    • Sally's Husband says:

      Steve, if Trump isn’t going to start a new arms race, why did he tweet it? As President, whatever he says holds significant meaning. The guy is either planning a new arms race with Russia and/or China, or he’s irresponsible. Which is it??

      • Steve Rowe says:

        Irresponsible. He should have his phone taken from him at bedtime like in the last days of the campaign.

        In that tweet he is referring to the fact that the US arsenal is old and not up to speed with Russia – it’s mean for domestic consumption as much as anything else.

  10. Steve Rowe says:

    Like a disgruntled tenant trashing the flat before the next person turns up … http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11773902

    How do you hack a voting machine not connected to the internet?

    But it fits nicely into the neo-McCarthy anti-Russia mania eveyone is buying into at the moment.

    True story – I sat through Xmas dinner with a NASA rocket scientist who believed Putin won the election for Trump. What that says for rocket science and NASA I don’t know.

    I held my tongue – season of goodwill and all that…

  11. […] blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 December […]

  12. Mike in Auckland says:

    Yes, this is a good analysis, Frank. Trump can live with Russia, and he hopes to do more business with the Russians, as doing business with Ukraine is not as lucrative. He will allow Putin to have his way in the Ukraine’s internal conflict and that with Russia as a result of it.

    Trump is no purist, he is a pragmatist, that is one who loves business and lives as one major tycoon with other like minded in his high circles, which some call the one percent.

    So tax breaks for business, at least a freeze on minimum wages, perhaps even a drop of it, “flexible” (ineffective) environmental laws, opting out of the Paris Climate Agreement, ignoring climate change and man made pollution, that will become the new “normal” under Trump.

    Russia is not much of a business competitor to the US, Trumps sees that, they largely earn foreign reserves from oil and gas exports, some minerals, and only some industrial goods, e.g. also arms exports. Russia is also keen to destabilise the EU and to get some controls over Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, so to influence what happens there. Trump has less interest in Europe, as we have already learned, he wants them to look after themselves and not drain US military spending.

    The US has though a more serious competitor in China, not so much as eye to eye seeing strategic opponent, but by being the factory of the world now, making things.

    While the US has now most new jobs being “service industry jobs”, most Americans still pride themselves in being also a major manufacturing nation. That has become less so, which is what Trumps goes on about. He hates to see US companies go and have things produced in China, same as in Mexico, these were core topics in his speeches.

    So he will do all to keep US manufacturing jobs at home, and try to attract some back. China has become to powerful to Trump, and much US debt is owned by Chinese banks, so in a way China has a stake in the US, where it sells a lot to, and where people, the government and businesses have borrowed from China to keep going.

    The other worry is China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and also in some other places. As China is, so is the US dependent on trade, and both like to have control over shipping lanes and air space, the US has that through its traditional and new allies in East and South East Asia.

    So it is absolutely right that Trump wants to contain China, to stunt its influence, and to make the US less dependent on trade and all else from China.

    Russia is largely populated by Slavs as part of the Indo-European human race, that is white people, Trump supporters in the US are mainly white middle class people, some also lower class, and they oppose the multi cultural US that Obama promoted, offering diversity and some empowerment for minorities.

    Naturally the white US Trump voters may even see Putin and Russia as an ally, same as Trump, which takes the form of advancing the interests of white people again, that is by also serving the interests of business. It seems to shape up like a new kind of informal alliance, where former opponents join in a new friendship to push for global control of the white elite and its servants.

    Chinese are of course a different race and culture, so are Arabs and so forth. On the BBC I recently heard an interesting program, where once commentator mentioned that Trump has virtually never mentioned anything about Africa in his speeches and interviews. He seems to have little interest in that continent, we may presume that he considers that place “inferior”.

    So there is more to all this than a tweet or two may suggest, and Frank has presented us some of what is happening and going to happen.

    • Indeed, Mike. And Trump’s on-going provocations over Taiwan seem to bear out that something covert is taking place with U.S. actions in the South China Sea, with Taiwan included in American machinations.

      U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday left open the possibility of meeting with Taiwan’s president if she visits the United States after he is sworn in on Jan. 20 and also expressed continued skepticism over whether Russia was responsible for computer hacks of Democratic Party officials.

      In remarks to reporters upon entering a New Year’s Eve celebration at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump said, “We’ll see,” when pressed on whether he would meet Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president if she were to be in the United States at any point after he becomes president. Taiwan’s president will be in transit in Houston on Jan. 7 and again will be in transit in San Francisco on Jan. 13.

      ref: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-idUSKBN14L0PP



Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog, 5 Victoria St East/Queen St, CBD, Auckland, New Zealand.