With Trump It's Always Two Steps Back, One Big Step Forward

Trump's foreign policy decisions are a product of the competing agendas of his advisors and the political reality of his fragile domestic position

Tue, Jul 11, 2017
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After what can only be termed a successful G20 meeting, President Donald Trump has followed up his overly-scrutinized meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin with the appointment of one of the worst figures in Washington, McCain Institute Chief Kurt Volker, to head up negotiations with Russia in Ukraine.

I have to agree with Russia Insider here: Kurt Volker is one of the worst possible choices for this appointment, unless the plan is to accelerate the end of the standoff between Kiev and the Donbass.

Regardless, it highlights the mixed bag that is Donald Trump. Watching him work in geopolitics is an exercise in surviving whiplash.

Thursday, Poland speech bad. Friday, Putin meeting good. Sunday, insults China on North Korea. Monday, Ukraine appointment really bad. Tuesday, Rex Tillerson is in Qatar to clean up Jared Kushner’s mess.

The Saker is convinced the U.S. doesn’t have a strategy in Syria anymore—and that there are currently no less than four different agendas playing out in different parts of the country. In Ukraine, however, the agenda is clear: keep the Russian borderlands as unstable as possible and tie Trump’s hands to an unworkable Minsk II agreement.

And with Trump not in control of the various factions within the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department (though Tillerson is the closest to fully cleaning house), it’s impossible to predict what will truly come up next. Moreover, Trump is an instinctual leader. Whip smart, but impetuous.

That makes his decisions the product of the competing agendas of his advisors and the political reality of his fragile domestic position.

And this brings me back to Volker’s appointment. It can be seen as a sop to John McCain to shut his senile pie-hole up for a few days. It won’t work. McCain, like the rest of the traitorous neocons, only take and never give ground. It likely is.

It is also likely a case of getting someone toxic in over their head to watch them hang themselves with their own rope. (See: Waffle House Waitress Nikki Haley’s appointment as U.N. ambassador.)

So, having Victoria-Nuland-in-drag in charge of the Ukrainian side of the negotiation will guarantee no implementation of the Minsk II agreement. But, then again, I don’t think anyone seriously thinks Minsk II was brokered to be implemented.

Russia knows this as well as everyone else. Putin gives it lip serviced to try and keep everyone talking. But, the Ukrainian nationalists that run the country don’t want the Donbass back in the fold unless as their effective slaves to be ground into paste.

The Donbass isn’t going to be ruled by Kiev under those, or likely any, conditions. So, this idea that Minsk II is somehow the framework for a deal is still nothing more than vacuous diplo-speak because Trump doesn’t have a solution that doesn’t involve reunification with Russia.

We’re hearing more and more noise from Novorussia that there will be referendums on reunification with Russia later this year or early in 2018. Once talks break down again we’ll see this situation push towards that practical solution.

With the LPR and DPR already issuing their own passports, ID’s and the like and using the Ruble as their currency, are they even part of Ukraine anymore in any practical sense?

No, they aren’t. And so, the appointment of Volker will feed McCain’s paranoia about Russia. When talks break down he’ll marshal Congress to approve billions more to resist ‘Russian aggression against Ukrainian freedom fighters’ or some such puerile nonsense.

Maybe Volker is Trump’s acknowledgment that Ukraine is a no-win situation and to let it play out as it needs to. Because once the LPR and DPR reunify with Russia the area will be at peace once Russian troops formally move in to fortify the contact line.

At that point Poroshenko and the Banderista crazies in Kiev will turn on each other.

Because in no way do I see John McCain forcing Donald Trump to prosecute a war with Russia over this issue.

Winning by losing I guess. If it works out that way.

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