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Trump Goes Full Bush the Lesser in Poland

Not very encouraging

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Trump’s speech in Poland on Thursday outlined just how far we are from any kind of rapprochement with Russia. This was a speech that could have been delivered by any number of former presidents, all of whom Putin had high hopes for changing the policy of the U.S.

But, that’s not on the table. This speech which asks the question, “whether the West has the will to survive?”

Because juxtaposed with this existential view of history is Trump’s ham-fisted call for Russia “to join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.”

Silly me—I thought Russia has been doing just that? Standing up to neo-Nazis installed by John McCain and Victoria Nuland in Ukraine; doing the heavy lifting with Iran to oust ISIS from Syria; stopping the slaughter of Coptic Christians. Need I go on? Is Russia not defending civilization itself?

This speech reminds me of Justin Raimondo’s review of George W. Bush’s 2005 inaugural address, where he rightly zeroes in on the fiery imagery, the Trotsky-esque invocations in Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed of “lighting a fire in the minds of men.”

"Because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts we have lit a fire as well, a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power; it burns those who fight its progress. And one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world." [emphasis mine]

From there Bush launched a now twelve-year campaign of chaos across the Middle East and North Africa while expanding NATO right up to Russia’s western Border. A program that has killed and displaced untold millions of people in the service of this “fire of the mind.”

And Trump now has the temerity to dress Russia down for standing in the way of this progress that heretofore he was a critic of?

As Putin rightly points out in his interview with Oliver Stone, U.S. Presidential candidates say a lot of things on the campaign trail, but the reality of the bureaucracy (and the power of the forces arrayed behind the President) are too strong, too firmly entrenched.

Compare Trump’s speech Thursday with its apocalyptic rhetoric, enflaming Polish nationalism when he should be doing the opposite if he truly wants peace, with that of Putin’s address to the United Nations on the eve of Russia’s intervention into Syria.

Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.

I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.

It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas, which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists. [emphasis mine]

I would think that candidate Trump would have applauded this speech by Putin. But, if that is so then his speech in Poland is a complete turn-around. Going into today’s meeting with Putin without acknowledging any of Russia’s real-world accomplishments in ‘knocking the hell out of ISIS’ is a recipe for a whole lot of nothing to get accomplished.

Trump is a man who acts on instinct. Putin is the exact opposite. Trump’s speech and comments about Poland’s energy security, calling Gazprom a ‘monopoly’ over European gas supplies, reveals, as I suspected, where this will all lead, more U.S. meddling in European affairs.

The only good that I can see coming out of this is Poland getting a strong vote to oppose the EU on immigration. By pledging U.S. LNG supplies to the “Three Seas” nations, Trump may be looking to blunt Germany’s desire to control Eastern Europe through Nordstream 2 transit fees.

An independent Eastern Europe should be open to both U.S. and Russian investment without the hassle of Brussels’ increasing autocracy. But, if Trump thinks, thanks to Henry Kissinger’s advice, he can hold this over Putin’s head to get him to give up Iran and Syria then Kissinger has gone senile and Trump’s naivete on foreign policy will be the death of his administration.

Because the only way out of that log-jam is further escalation and lighting the kind of fire that burns everyone.

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