The first in a series of GM Fountainhead posts from Trump’s “Russian Front”
Trump is signaling that he is ready to change over seventy years of >>> a U.S. policy of hostility to Russia <<<
Hillary played her gender card and played her race card --- Now, it looks like Trump might have played his Russia card, like Nixon played his China card --- except Trump played it a while ago & it's already paying-off
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin look like they might be having some kind “THING” going on. Some say it like it’s a bad thing, others not so much.
TRUMP SUGGESTS HE’S OPEN TO A U.S.-RUSSIA ALLIANCE, BUT POOH-POOHS ANY CONSPIRACY THEORY LINKING HIM WITH PUTINHere’s the latest from Donald Trump's Russian Front, according to Newsweek, “Republican nominee Donald Trump said on Monday that if elected U.S. president he would weigh an alliance with Russia against Islamic State militants but rejected any suggestion Russian President Vladimir Putin might be trying to help him win…. Speaking at a rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Trump dismissed any suggestion that Putin's intelligence services might have had a hand in hacking the Democratic National Committee's email system….” (See “Donald Trump Would Consider Alliance With Russia's Vladimir Putin Against ISIS" [from Reuters feed], 7/25/16, Newsweek/ Reuters [http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-isis-syria-iraq-moscow-islamic-state-democratic-483826]).
That article went on to say, “…. Trump dismissed a charge from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook that Russian hackers might have stolen the emails and leaked them to embarrass Democrats and help Trump defeat Clinton in the Nov. 8 election…. ‘I don't think it's coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that's disturbing,’ Mook told CNN's ‘State of the Union’…. Trump dismissed what he called ‘one of the weirdest conspiracy theories’ he said he had heard…. He said he had never met Putin. But over the course of his year-long campaign, Trump has praised the Russian leader and one of his top foreign policy advisers, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, had dinner with Putin last December…. ‘When you think about it, wouldn't it be nice if we got along with Russia?’ Trump said. ‘Wouldn't it be nice if we got together with Russia and knocked the hell out of ISIS?’ he added, using another name for Islamic State….”
BUT >>> JOSH MARSHALL AT “TPM” SEES IT THIS WAYHere’s another take from the blog “TPM” --- “Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin's increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there's quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men….” (See “Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing” Josh Marshall, 7/23/16, TPM/ Editor’s Blog [http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing]).
Marshall’s article certainly rates a look by all real Republicans, and more important by all real patriotic Americans--- especially those people who are very critical and/or very wary of things like the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global initiative.
Josh Marshall’s insightful and in-depth article concludes with this: “…. To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money [w/o emphasis] flowing in Trump's direction, combined with this much solicitousness [w/o emphasis] of Putin's policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He's the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out 'what's going on' as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher…. There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump's financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That's simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.” That certainly sounds ominous, if not downright bad…..
FOR QUITE SOME TIME, OTHERS HAVE HAD A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW
Back in December, the International Business Times had an article that looked at the openly expressed Trump-Putin bromance from the point of view of many in the Russian monied class --- “Russian President Vladimir Putin may be publicly praising Republican front-runner Donald Trump — and, therefore, implicitly criticizing the current administration — but investors from his country are quietly singing a different tune about the U.S. While sanctions and tumult in the Middle East have led to an icy relationship between the Obama administration and the Kremlin, Russians with money to spare have been looking to invest in American holdings…. ‘We just position quite well for those of high net worth to continue putting money into the United States,” Ed Mermelstein, a real estate attorney, consultant and developer in New York, said. “Russian nationals are just one of the [many] international communities that continue to put money into the U.S.’… Mermelstein said that, especially with the economic unrest that has resulted from international sanctions placed on Russia recently, investors in the oligarchy see the relatively stable economic and political outlook in the U.S. as a safe place to put their money. Putin’s overtures to Trump, and Trump’s acceptance of those compliments, Mermelstein said, aren’t likely to change that calculus dramatically….” (See “What Does A Friendly Relationship Between Trump And Putin Mean For Rich Russians?” by Clark Mindock, 12/20/15, IBT/ [http://www.ibtimes.com/what-does-friendly-relationship-between-trump-putin-mean-rich-russians-2233860]).
The Mindock-IBT article continued with this: ”…. Still, the notion of thawed relations between the two superpowers is interesting to investors and would bode well for Putin’s regime. A more amicable relationship would mean that investment in Russia would become more attractive, which would bring revenue into the country…. Economic uncertainty has shifted the way big money players in Russia are storing their wealth. Hoping to at least maintain their money, they are turning to investments in things like luxury real estate in the U.S., which aren’t likely to lose considerable value….” Needless to say the luxury real estate thing is something that long has been something that is completely in Donald Trump’s wheelhouse.
A more circumspect article recently appeared in the IBT (See “Why Does Putin Like Trump? Russia's Connections To The American Presidential Election Explained” by Lydia Tomkiw, 7/25/16, IBT [http://www.ibtimes.com/why-does-putin-trump-russias-connections-american-presidential-election-explained-2394700]). It discusses the possible pro-Russian influences that Trump advisors Paul Manafort and Carter Page might be exercising on the GOP presidential candidate.
THE GENERAL MICHAEL FLYNN CONNECTION & HOW HE MIGHT FIT INTO THE EQUATION
There are also many articles that talk about what Trump might be hearing on the military-geo-political side of the equation.
One of them is this February article from the Reuters News Service. According to Reuters, “Donald Trump is receiving foreign policy advice from a former U.S. military intelligence chief who wants the United States to work more closely with Russia to resolve global security issues, according to three sources…. The sources, former foreign policy officials in past administrations, said retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama from 2012-2014, has been informally advising Trump…. Flynn resigned from his position as the head of the Pentagon's main intelligence agency a year before his term was officially due to end…. Flynn raised eyebrows among some U.S. foreign policy veterans when he was pictured sitting at the head table with Putin at a banquet in Moscow late last year celebrating Russia Today, an international broadcasting network funded by the Russian government…. Flynn told Russia Today in an interview published on Dec. 10 that the United States and Russia should work together to resolve the Syrian civil war and defeat Islamic State…. The Obama administration has protested Russia's military intervention on behalf of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, accusing Moscow of hitting opposition forces rather than ISIS…. ‘Right now we have essentially the U.S. strategy and we have a Russian strategy in the region that does not appear to be in line with each other. And I think we have to step back and try to figure out how do we align those,” Flynn told Russia Today….” (See “Trump being advised by ex-U.S. Lieutenant General who favors closer Russia ties” by Mark Hosenball & Steve Holland, 2/26/16, RNS [http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-advisor-idUSMTZSAPEC2Q6G3JRH]; see also “Trump's favorite general” by Brian Bender & Shane Goldmacher, 7/8/16, Politico [http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/donald-trump-general-michael-flynn-vp-225253]).
There are many more articles about the Trump-Flynn relationship --- suffice it to say that Flynn was on Trump’s short list for VP; he was also prominent at the GOP Convention. But that still doesn’t fully explain what Trump might be up to or where he’s getting is all his ideas about Russia and a new pivot on Russian issues.
Coming soon on the GM Fountainhead coverage of Trump’s Russian Front --- a look at Trump advisor, Carter Page and Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort.