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Donald “Drumpf” Trump and Vladimir Putin: Two Unlikely Friends

2016-07-22

Paul Krugman has a new column in the NYT called “Trump, the Siberian candidate” (a play on “The Manchurian Candidate”, a movie describing a fictional Chinese plot to assassinate a presidential candidate) that states a shocking, scary possibility: the Donald is a puppet of Vladimir.  This is based on a Slate story from yesterday that explicitly calls Donald the puppet of Vladimir, and has some very specific reasons for saying so.  For example, Donald’s campaign manager Paul Manafort was on the payroll of Victor Yanukovitch, who was the Ukraine’s leader and an ally of Vladimir’s before he was overthrown just a few years ago.  The Atlantic also has a story from yesterday that describes Hillary as running directly against Vladimir because Donald is Vladimir’s handmaiden.

Donald gave the secret away when he said that if he was president, he would hesitate to come to the aid of NATO countries under attack from Russia “unless they met their obligations to us” (meaning unless they paid through the nose for the privilege.)  Donald ignores our treaty obligations to NATO countries, which closely resemble the obligations Western countries undertook to Poland before WW II– and which led to Great Britain declaring war on Germany and Russia when they overran Poland in September 1939.

The Atlantic says that Russia has been supporting “right-wing populists” in Europe; for example, they lent money to Marine Le Pen in France.  Silvio Berlusconi of Italy has received personal gifts from Vladimir and has profited from energy deals with Russia.  Russia even propagandized in favor of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Donald has been unstinting in his praise of Vladimir, and called his piece slamming American exceptionalism “a masterpiece.”  For almost a decade, Donald has made fawning statements lauding Vladimir’s abilities and his drive to control all of Russia.  He even denied that Vladimir has had overly-critical Russian journalists assassinated, a conclusion which seems obvious to most observers.  Donald has praised Vladimir’s leadership, famously grading him as “an A.”

In turn, Vladimir’s propaganda apparatus has pushed Donald’s candidacy and thrashed Hillary.   Russian hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s servers, taking opposition research on Donald and whatever else was laying around.  The research on Donald is critical to Donald’s campaign because he needs to know what dirt Hillary has that she is planning to expose during the next few months, in order to counter it– as if they could find effective defenses to the facts about Donald’s shady business life and four bankruptcies from which he has skimmed millions of dollars.

Last month, Bloomberg news reported that suspected Russian government intelligence hackers had broken into the servers of the Clinton Foundation.  Bloomberg stated, “Trump said the hack was a political ploy concocted by the Democrats.”  The Russian hackers apparently have broken into the computers of over 4,000 individuals associated with all sides in the US campaign for president, according to government investigators who have been monitoring their activities.  A Clinton spokesman was quoted as saying, “What appears evident is that the Russian groups responsible for the DNC hack are intent on attempting to influence the outcome of this election.”

The hackers have apparently threatened to release the contents of thousands of internal memos from the computers of Democratic campaign officials.  In addition, confidential files from the Clinton Foundation could be the subject of attacks by Donald’s campaign, which has threatened to make the activities of the Foundation a campaign issue.  Donald has claimed that the Clintons have enriched themselves by donations to the Foundation and their internal documents could prove to be a rich source of negative propaganda.  Donald’s campaign work could be made much easier by access to these secret materials, which the Russian government has spent considerable time and money to obtain.

The bottom line: Donald is a potential right-wing fascist dictator who would, even without changing the US government’s nominal organization, turn the US into an inward-looking, xenophobic country that would fail to counter Russia’s expansionist policies.  We would abandon NATO and fail to protect Western Europe from Russia’s incursions, while allowing Syria’s al-Assad to continue his murderous campaign of civil war.  Donald’s foreign policy would suit Vladimir and so he gladly helps Donald’s campaign for the Presidency.

As patriotic Americans and in support of democracies that protect human rights and the rights of the individual all over the world, we must prevent Donald from achieving his aim of taking over our government.  The Republicans, who claimed to be internationalists in support of democracy under George W. Bush (and went overboard with waterboarding, torture, and “rendition”), have taken control of the Congress and nearly taken over the Supreme Court (in spite of the timely death of Antonin Scalia.)  They will happily become isolationists in order to win the Presidency, and they will readily accept Vladimir Putin’s support to do so.

Despite American blunders in stepping on nascent freedom movements all over the world over the last hundred and fifty years, we still have the largest and most effective military in the world.  We must use our power to support freedom and human rights, not just to stop the Islamic State, but to counter Russia’s right-wing fascists under Vladimir Putin.  Please vote against Donald in November; if you must hold your nose to vote for Hillary, do so, and if you think it’s the lesser of two evils, then vote anyway.

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