The recent firing of Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, because of his alleged association with Vladimir Putin’s Russia has many asking just what Trump and Putin see in each other. What benefits can Putin get by having Donald Trump in the White House rather than Hillary Clinton? The fact that Russia may have provided WikiLeaks with the Democratic Party emails it recently released would seem to say that Putin definitely doesn’t want Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States. But why exactly?
The revelations regarding Paul Manafort’s dealings with a Russian-backed Ukrainian dictator a few years ago have been all over the news lately. CNN is reporting that the FBI and the Justice Department are both currently investigating Manafort for his seemingly illicit activities and lobbying efforts. Naturally, Manafort denies any wrongdoing.
It’s interesting to note that the apparent objective of this undisclosed lobbying “fund” was to funnel $2.2 million to Washington lobbyists who would then convince members of Congress and the senate to back off from further penalizing Russia for its actions. If these accusations are proven, having someone like this running his campaign is hardly something that Trump can brag about. Although given that it’s Trump, he just might try anyway.
At the same time, Trump has said some very complementary things about Vladimir Putin and implied that he’s someone he could work with. The implication is also fairly clear that Trump admires Putin. This is a shocking idea to anyone who knows anything about the former-KGB, now-Russian “president” and his ironfisted rule over the media, government, and people of Russia.
Having a man as President of the United States who is fond of someone who leads what is potentially our main military adversary is – to say the least – a deeply disturbing idea. But Putin seems to be hoping that Trump might just land the job.
It’s evident that the Russians have very good reasons for wanting Donald Trump in the White House if it’s at all possible. Trump is constantly making foreign policy statements that would raise the hackles of any Democratic or Republican president who has held office in the last 60 years.
Trump’s willingness to discard allies who don’t – in Trump’s opinion – carry their weight could virtually destroy the Western alliance system. The idea that the United States might abandon its allies would be toxic to any future military cooperation. Such suggestions by Trump no doubt have Putin salivating at the possibilities.
For example, Trump recently implied that the tiny Baltic states might have to fight for themselves if there was a problem, and that he, as president, wouldn’t necessarily rush to their aid if Russian tanks started rolling across the border. And as reported by the Washington Post, Trump also flatly stated that the Japanese would never come to the aid of the United States if it was attacked, but expected the United States to always protect them.
Looking at all that Trump has said regarding Russia, the Western alliance, and the use of United States military power in the world, it’s fairly clear that he is an isolationist. Beyond cutting off trade with countries whom he feels engage in unfair trade practices, he also wants to make the United States less of a world power by isolating it from its allies.
With Trump’s admiration of Putin, his campaign manager’s secretive dealings with them, and the apparently close relationship between the Trump family children and “associates” of Vladimir Putin, it’s easy to see why conspiracy nuts might be very suspicious. But even disregarding the idea that Trump is some sort of mole being planted in the Oval Office by Putin, the effect could be much the same if Trump ever actually became president.
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