There are too many things that now show that there is a connection between Trump and Putin and that Putin is willing to pull out all the stops to try to throw the election to Trump. As bad as that is, what is worse is that Trump is willing to hurt American national security to foster his relationship with Putin and Russia. We don’t yet know all the specifics of the relationship between Trump and Putin but here is what we do know so far:
- Trump has expressed admiration for Putin on multiple occasions. This is strange behavior for a nominee for President from one of the major parties to express admiration for a foreign leader who has had an adversarial relationship with the United States for the past 12 years versus Presidents of both US parties.
- Trump has had relationships with Billionaire oligarch friends of Putin going back a number of years. Trump’s obsequiousness toward and attempt to attract the attention of Russian leaders goes back to Soviet times. He so badly wanted to meet Gorbachev that he was tricked into meeting with a Gorbachev impersonator and this was caught on camera. See here for more information about Trump’s Russian connections throughout the years http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html also here http://www.politico.eu/article/donald-trumps-russia-connections-foreign-policy-presidential-campaign/ and see here https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/from-russia-with-love for video of Trumps embarrassing meeting with a Gorbachev impersonator.
- One of Trump’s top campaign personnel, Paul Manafort, has worked with Russian backed candidates in Ukraine including being on the payroll of Viktor Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a Putin ally. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/opinion/donald-trump-the-siberian-candidate.html
- It has now been confirmed that Russian intelligence services were behind the hack of the Democratic Party email system and the Russians released that information just before the Democratic National Convention when it would be sure to cause problems for the Democratic nominee’s efforts to build cohesion versus Trump. It’s impossible that this was done without approval from Putin. To put it succinctly, Russian intelligence, at the behest of Putin, is trying to help Trump win the election via nefarious means. See the below posted ABC News video.
- The Trump campaign refused a plank in the GOP platform, pushed by all other factions of the Republican Party, that would guarantee weapons to Ukraine if Russia attacked them. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-campaign-guts-gops-anti-russia-stance-on-ukraine/2016/07/18/98adb3b0-4cf3-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html
- Most concerning is that Trump has broken with over 60 years of NATO policy in suggesting that if he were President, the US might not come to the aid of a fellow NATO member if attacked by Russia. http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/07/trump-nato/492341/ This is a huge blow to the members of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe, who live with an ever increasing aggressiveness from Russia and depend on their membership in NATO to stay free from Russian domination. Newsweek published an article earlier this year titled “Counting Down to a Russian invasion of the Baltics”, http://www.newsweek.com/counting-down-russian-invasion-baltics-414877 , which outlined how aggressive Putin has been in putting political, economic and business pressure on the Baltics in what can only be assumed to be a prelude to attempting to take control over those countries in one form or another. Trump’s comments must seem particularly terrifying to the people and leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. It could drive countries like these or others who share borders with Russia to decide it would be easier and safer to capitulate to Putin’s demands to return to the Russian sphere of influence, and turn away from NATO and the EU. You can see the argument being made, better to do that now with some bargaining chips to be played than be overrun and have no say in how it’s done. I promise all of you reading this that those kinds of discussions are being had in countries that border Russia after Trump’s comments. I am not saying those proposing such things will win those arguments, but they are being said and are being taken seriously.
The Clinton campaign was also quick to respond to Trump's suggestions.
“The President is supposed to be the leader of the free world,” senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement. “Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the free world.” He went on to say that it was "fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency."
Trump’s response to criticism was to double down on his position regarding potentially not coming to the aid of fellow NATO countries.
Why is Trump clinging so hard to a bad policy denounced from all corners that hasn’t been defended by any foreign policy expert at any position in the political spectrum? Why is hurting US National Security by weakening NATO so important to him?
The only person who benefits from Trump’s proposed change in NATO policy is Putin.
My contention, and I will argue this point with anyone, is that Trump’s statement on NATO has hurt American National Security more than any single act by any President in US History, and Trump managed to do that without ever being elected to any political office.
The Washington Posts’ Anne Applebaum put it this way:
For even if Trump never becomes president, his candidacy has already achieved two extremely important Russian foreign policy goals: to weaken the moral influence of the United States by undermining its reputation as a stable democracy, and to destroy its power by wrecking its relationships with its allies. Toward these ends, Trump has begun repeating arguments identical to those used on Russian state television. These range from doubts about the sovereignty of Ukraine — earlier this week, Trump’s campaign team helped alter the Republican party platform to remove support for Ukraine — to doubts about U.S. leadership of the democratic world. The United States has its own “mess” to worry about, Trump told the New York Times on Wednesday: It shouldn’t stand up for democracy abroad. In the same interview, he also cast doubt on the fundamental basis of transatlantic stability, NATO’s Article 5 guarantee: If Russia invades, he said, he’d have to think first before defending U.S. allies. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/how-a-trump-presidency-could-destabilize-europe/2016/07/21/9ec38a20-4f75-11e6-a422-83ab49ed5e6a_story.html
Ms Applebaum also alluded to Trump being an actual Manchurian candidate.
From the links on several of the points I noted above you can see that various major media organizations are starting to report on the kinds of things I have written about here. ABC News did an excellent piece on the hack and some of the other disturbing elements of seeming cooperation between Trump and Putin. See this video from ABC News:
Putin is a bully who has invaded and taken over pieces of half a dozen neighboring countries. The surest way to deter a bully is by a rock-solid alliance between countries so that the bully knows in no uncertain terms that if he attacks one of the alliance members, all will come to the aid of the country attacked with devastating consequences for the attacker. We saw what happened in the run-up to the Second World War when dictators exploited the reluctance of countries to support each other by swiftly taking over large portions of Europe and Asia. Trump is working to bring those same conditions about by eroding the support of NATO alliance countries for each other.
This is an enormous issue. Beyond all the other reasons why Trump would make a terrible President, this issue of Trump selling out American National Security to Russia stands above them all as a critical reason why Trump should not never be President.
For reference I included NATO’s article 5 from http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .