Friday, 18 Jan 2019

Voluntarily or innocently, Trump does Putin’s job.

Oh be Marina Gross right now. Who, one could ask, is Marina Gross?

Well, for the benefit of those who do not know the name, suffice it to say that she was the only other American in the room at the crucial summit of US President Donald Trump this week with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

As the interpreter of Mr. Trump is little known to Ms. Gross, but that does not prevent just about every American and global politician and diplomat from knowing what Ms. Gross knows about what has been told at this extraordinary meeting.

Some American Democratic politicians were so anxious or irritated to see Mr. Trump bow to Mr. Putin that they even suggested to Ms. Gross to learn what the two leaders had discussed behind closed doors .

As it turned out that their efforts were thwarted by Republicans in a vote at the US House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

As US officials have pointed out, the summons to appear from an interpreter of the President is unprecedented in the modern era. But the word "unprecedented" has been spoken almost non-stop since this now infamous week to which Mr. Trump in the eyes of many senior US officials has betrayed his country and his intelligence services before one of the most dedicated and the United States dangerous opponents.

The news that the US President offered Mr. Putin a new meeting in Washington in the fall only added to "disbelief" and anger at within the US establishment of security and foreign policy.

But in coming back for a moment of all this outrage, it is worth stopping to take stock of the potential damage caused by Mr. Trump's conduct in terms of US national interests and those concerning his European and transatlantic allies.

From a political point of view, since the Charlottesville Fiasco almost a year ago, Trump's behavior sparked such introspection into the American political community.

According to some Washington insiders, the morale of the West Wing as a result of this disastrous press conference in Helsinki would have further plummeted.

Some observers fear that other key officials may be about to resign, perhaps even those who, to some extent, have a moderating influence on some of the President's most reckless decisions.

"Please, do not resign," pleaded Kori Schake, head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), writing in Atlantic magazine this week.

"We should not want moral satisfaction and the practical devastation of eliminating people of conscience and allow the president to replace them with more malleable or compromised people," Schake said.

With such arguments aside, one can not help but note that Trump's recent actions have shaken many of them and continue to resonate in Washington's corridors of power right up to the headquarters of the CIA in Langley and beyond.

The intelligence community feels particularly aggrieved. In the case of the FBI, Mr. Trump effectively rejected his charges of 12 Russian military officers for conducting a cyber-war against the United States during the 2016 elections.

Never has the intelligence community faced a problem like Mr. Trump. For them, it is now time to try to balance their obligations to the President and the Commander in Chief while confirming the oaths they have lent to protect and defend the Constitution.

Trump's actions have eroded confidence to the point where risky security and spying operations could be reduced because intelligence professionals doubt the president's support.

Similarly, countermeasures can not be taken against Russian information and cyberwar because the president refuses to order them, as only the president can do. Any refusal on behalf of Mr. Trump to deter, retaliate or counter such threats, particularly with the mid-term elections scheduled for November, is indeed crowded into the country's intelligence community.

They are not alone in such worries. The same spirit prevails among Washington's many European allies and in particular NATO members as a result of Mr. Trump's demolition tactics at the recent alliance rally in Brussels. .

For their part, more and more NATO members are now seeing the problem not that Mr. Trump is indifferent to alliance relations, but rather that he has the slightest problem. intention to destroy them.

No better example of the US President's contempt for NATO and the extent to which he appears to want to inflict the damage Mr. Putin would like more than well, was revealed this week in an interview with Mr. Trump at Fox News.

"Why would my son go to Montenegro to defend him against an attack?" Asked the host to Mr. Trump. The president's response must have been music in the ears of Putin, who has not stopped scolding since the tiny Balkan country became the 29th member of NATO last year. .

"I asked the same question," replied Mr. Trump, "Montenegro is a small country with very strong people.These are very aggressive people.They can become aggressive, and congratulations you are in the third world war. "

Trump's astonishing response has left many observers wondering how Montenegro, a country of just under 600,000 with an army of less than 2,000 men, could be a problem for the United States. .

The answer probably lies in the fact that Moscow was very upset when this small nation joined NATO. For a time, the Russian secret services have used all the book's ploys through propaganda, spying and subversion to prevent Montenegro from breaking out of the alliance.
As Mr. Trump's comments on Fox News did almost immediately after his in-camera meeting with Mr. Putin, was this still a proof of the US President's willingness to peddle the Kremlin line and To help Moscow as much as he can?

It is certainly inconceivable that he was oblivious to the message sent to NATO.

"By attacking Montenegro and challenging our obligations to NATO, the president is playing in the hands of Putin," Republican Senator John McCain wrote on Twitter.

And here lies the real question, the extent to which the American president voluntarily or innocently does the work of the Kremlin. Oh be Marina Gross.

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