• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

U.S.-Russian Relations Hit a New Low

The relationship between Russia and the United States is definitely becoming sour in the wake of last week’s missile strike in retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and it has both the Trump and Putin regimes scrambling:

WASHINGTON — President Trump and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson sought on Wednesday to isolate President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for backing the Syrian government in the wake of its lethal chemical weapons attack on civilians, and worked to build international pressure on Moscow to change course.

In Washington, Moscow and New York, the Trump administration publicly chastised Mr. Putin but privately worked to hash out increasingly bitter differences with him. At the same time, Mr. Trump embraced NATO — a military alliance he had previously derided as obsolete — as an effective and vital force for peace and security in a region where Russia has been an aggressive actor.

During his presidential campaign, and in his early days in office, Mr. Trump’s approach to foreign policy included speaking warmly of Mr. Putin and the prospects of a United States alliance with Russia. He had also questioned the usefulness of NATO, and the concept of an alliance for common defense to counterbalance Moscow’s belligerence.

In an interview that aired on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said that Mr. Putin was partly to blame for the conflict in Syria and denounced him for backing President Bashar al-Assad, whom he called an “animal.” Later at the White House, Mr. Trump said that Russia had likely known in advance of the Syrian government’s plan to unleash a nerve agent against its own people, and asserted that the United States’ relations with Moscow were at an “all-time low.”

In Moscow, Mr. Tillerson came away from a two-hour meeting with Mr. Putin — the first such face-to-face session of the Trump administration — without reaching agreement on facts involving the chemical weapons assault in Syria or Russian interference in the American election. And sharply diverging from the meeting of the minds between the United States and Russia that Mr. Trump frequently aspired to when he was campaigning, there was no visible warming of the relationship.

“There is a low level of trust between our countries,” Mr. Tillerson told reporters at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov. “The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.”

The most immediate casualty of the clash was Russia’s decision last week to suspend a communication channel, set up in 2015, to share information about American and Russian air operations over Syria to avoid possible conflict. Mr. Lavrov said on Wednesday that “we’re willing to put it back into force” if Washington and Moscow can resolve their differences.

Further punctuating the Syria dispute, Russia on Wednesday vetoed a Western-backed resolution at the United Nations Security Council that condemned the chemical weapons attack. It was the eighth time in the six-year-old Syrian civil war that Russia, one of the five permanent Security Council members, had used its veto power to shield the government in Damascus. But in a possible sign of Russia’s isolation on the chemical weapons issue, China, the permanent member that usually votes with Russia on Syria resolutions, abstained.

The vote came the day after Mr. Trump spoke by phone to President Xi Jinping of China, whom he hosted last week at a summit at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Fla. White House officials said they credited the relationship between the two leaders that was forged during the visit, and the conversation Tuesday evening, with helping to influence China’s vote.

The day began with harsh words from Mr. Trump toward Mr. Putin, whom he had once praised effusively.

“I really think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Russia to make sure that peace happens, because frankly, if Russia didn’t go in and back this animal, we wouldn’t have a problem right now,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network, referring to Mr. Assad. “Putin is backing a person that’s truly an evil person, and I think it’s very bad for Russia. I think it’s very bad for mankind. It’s very bad for this world.”

Later, after a meeting at the White House with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, Mr. Trump went out of his way to praise the military institution, which he called a “great alliance,” and to express disappointment with Russia.

Asked whether it was possible that Syrian forces could have launched the chemical attack without Russia’s knowledge, Mr. Trump said: “It’s certainly possible; I think it’s probably unlikely.”

“I would like to think that they didn’t know, but certainly they could have. They were there,” Mr. Trump said of the Russians during a 30-minute news conference at the White House.

Even as they have intensified their criticism of Russia for backing Mr. Assad, other senior Trump administration officials, including Mr. Tillerson and Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, have been careful to say there is no consensus that Moscow had foreknowledge that the Assad government planned to launch a chemical assault.

“Right now, we’re not getting along with Russia at all — we may be at an all-time low in terms of a relationship with Russia,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. Still, he held out hope that the United States and Russia could come to terms, suggesting that Mr. Tillerson’s talks with Mr. Putin had gone better than expected.

That last comment from Trump is probably somewhat of an exaggeration, of course. One could point to any number of instances during the Cold War when our relationship with what is now Russia was far worse and far more dangerous for the world, than what we’re currently dealing with. The crisis that led to the Berlin Airlift, which lasted for the better part of a year in 1948 and 1949, comes to mind, for example, as does the crisis that led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 come to mind most readily, as to incidents such as the Able Archer scare in September 1983, a NATO military exercise that the Soviet nearly mistakenly interpreted as preparation for a nuclear attack. Any of those incidents would arguably have been a lower point in U.S.-Russian/Soviet relations than where we stand to. Nonetheless, it certainly seems to be accurate to say that relations between the two nation. Nonetheless, it certainly seems to be accurate to say that relations between the two nations have not been worse at any point since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and that alone is significant.

This is a process that has been going on for some time now, of course. While Vladimir Putin has been trying to expand Russian influence for some time now, he has been particularly active in the past three years beginning with the moves that resulted in the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the decision to provide aid, equipment, and apparent on-the-ground assistance to rebels in eastern Ukraine who are still engaged in combat with the Ukrainian government. Starting in 2015, Putin began directly intervening in the Syrian civil war with the ostensible excuse that it was fighting terrorism, although it quickly became apparent that it was more concerned with protecting the regime of Bashar Assad and preserving its own interests in the country. Finally, there’s the fact that Russia has essentially been caught red-handed attempting to influence the Presidential election in the United States and been accused of similar intervention in nations in Europe, including Poland, France, and Germany. Given all of this, it’s no surprise that relations between the United States and Russia have reached the point that they have even under a new Administration.

All of this is somewhat ironic, of course. During the course of the campaign, President Trump derided the Obama White House in general and Secretary Clinton in particular for the state of relations with Russia, asserting that they had completely mishandled the relationship and that only he could fix things. When asked about all the positive comments that Vladimir Putin was throwing his way during the campaign, Trump made it seem as though he thought this was a good thing and a sign that he’d be able to ‘make a deal’ with Putin that had proven elusive for President Obama. Instead, the Russia issue has become something of an albatross around Trump’s neck thanks both to the allegations of Russian interference and the allegations of alleged contact between people close to Trump and Russian officials both before and after the election. There’s been at least some speculation that, with these two stories now open knowledge among the American public, the Trump Administration is likely going to feel pressure to take a tougher stand against Putin than they otherwise might have done. Whether that’s the case or not only time will tell. For the time being, though, it certainly seems to be true that the situation in Syria has made the U.S.-Russian relatioship even more complicated than it already was, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most severe:

    a) Tomahawk strike…….. 1
    b) Damage done to Putin/Assad……… 2
    c) Rhetoric of doom………. 8.

    In short, I don’t believe there’s anything real happening here. Ivanka said, “poor babies,” Trump shot off some missiles which did somewhere between ‘very little’ and ‘nothing.’ And just like his “Obama wires!” tweet staff and pundits are left scurrying around trying to separate fact from fiction and make sense of what was nothing but the impulse of a clown.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  3. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    In the words of Big Daddy Unruh:

    “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money and then vote against them you’ve got no business being up here.”

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  4. gVOR08 says:

    One could point to any number of instances during the Cold War when our relationship with what is now Russia was far worse and far more dangerous for the world, than what we’re currently dealing with.

    Yeah. I got duck and cover drills in grade school

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:
    And of course you thought the same of Hillary’s speeches to Goldman Sachs. Right?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    There is more melodrama in the recent US-Russian hissy fit than a daytime soap opera. That’s right, we’re supposed to be watching the shiny object.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. CSK says:

    Well, Donny probably got enraged at all the SNL jibes about him being Vlad’s butt-boy, and he had to retaliate.

    We have a president who determines what passes for his foreign policy on the basis of the jokes made about him on late night television.

    Swell.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @michael reynolds: Kinda sorta, Legendary Fabulist. They were making advance payments for future services to be rendered — at least, they were hoping so. They knew she’d rough them up verbally in the campaign, but they were betting that it would be about as sincere as her “landed under sniper fire in Bosnia” BS.

    Buying the Clintons was a fairly safe investment — you might not get the best return on your investment, but you’d get something. Buying Trump, though — that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Trump doesn’t have the best record of staying bought.

    That’s why the whole “Putin owns Trump” fantasy is so BS. One of Trump’s most defining characteristics is that he isn’t easily controlled. Yeah, you can push his buttons, but long-term? Ain’t gonna take.

    For example, everyone here points out how easy it is to get him to go off on Twitter. Totally true.

    So he spends a few minutes in the morning going off on Twitter, in response to some provocation. Then he goes to work and does the important stuff while his haters spend all day losing their heads over that tweet — and don’t pay any attention to what he does with the rest of his day.

    Funny how none of the Trump haters have even considered that possibility. Probably because it conflicts with their image of Trump, and makes them look stupid. And they’re (well, you’re) the furthest thing from stupid — just ask yourselves!

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  9. JohnMcC says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Wait a minute. You’re beclowning yourself because it seem to you that you’re disproving a widespread belief that “Putin owns Trump”?

    Joke’s on you, stupid.

    Big difference between imagining that Putin & the FSB meddled in our election in a way guaranteed to disadvantage the U.S. and declaring that the beneficiary of that meddling is intelligent enough to realize it.

    You’re stupider than Pres Trump. Which very stupid indeed.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    He’s the latest driveby.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. Ben Wolf says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: There’s a signficant cognitive dissonance in the heads of Democrats that Trump is A) unstable and out-of-control, and B) controlled by Putin. Both, of course, cannot be true.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  12. grumpy realist says:

    @Ben Wolf: Why not? There’s c) sent out like a random WMD simply for the mischief factor by Putin.

    I suspect that Putin underestimated Trump’s childness, thinking that the fact Russia has T. by the short and curlies over all the money the Russian mafia has lent him.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  13. rachel says:

    @grumpy realist: I still think Putin was just trying to hamstring Hillary and figured that the (unlikely) event of Trump winning would be gravy for him because Dim Donnie is so malleable. Well, too bad for Pootie-Poot; there’s a loooong line of would-be puppet masters waiting for Annoying Orange to do their will, not necessarily to Russia’s benefit. I guess it also escaped his notice that Boss Tweet will double-cross anybody if he can make a nickle out of it.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. Eric Florack says:

    It’s amusing and educational to watch the left pivoting from it’s almost non-stop whine of “trump is in collusion with the Russians” to “Trump’s gonna get us into a war with Russia”…

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Eric Florack:
    The fact that you are an abject racist means you are, by definition, ignorant.
    Your every comment proves it.

    It’s amusing and educational to watch the left pivoting from it’s almost non-stop whine of “trump is in collusion with the Russians” to “Trump’s gonna get us into a war with Russia”…

    The two are not mutually exclusive, by any means. In fact, if one was accused of the former, one might very well pursue the latter in order to disprove the former.
    Moron.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So he spends a few minutes in the morning going off on Twitter, in response to some provocation. Then he goes to work and does the important stuff

    This assumes a lot of fact not in evidence.
    He’s 80+ days into the so-called presidency and he has accomplished essentially nothing.
    But he does say that everything is harder than he thought it would be.
    The only people dumber than Donnie are the people who voted for him.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  17. Pch101 says:

    It is clear that Trump wants the public to think that relations with Russia are bad, irrespective of the truth. That should make you question his motives.

    With a very short time, Trump has gone from reaching out to Assad, offering platitudes about the Russians and trash talking NATO to doing the exact opposite. It’s not a subtle change over time, but a quick and complete 180 that coincides all-too-nicely with a plethora of recent news stories about Trump’s numerous Russia-related connections.

    I am becoming more convinced that this is part of a pivot to the GOP establishment in the wake of the healthcare failure and an effort to distance himself from all of the many connections between his team and the Russians. The chemical weapons are just a distraction.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  18. teve tory says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Florack keeps repeating that line, like he thinks he came up with something clever. Sad!

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  19. teve tory says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he was previously convinced China had “tremendous power” over North Korea. But after meeting with Xi last week, Trump said he “realized it’s not so easy.”

    “After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump said. “I felt pretty strongly that [China] had a tremendous power over North Korea. But it’s not what you would think.”

    and from Vox:

    Four quick observations about this:

    Trump thought China could fix North Korea until the Chinese president politely informed him that North Korea is in fact complicated.

    Trump seems to have required the leader of China to explain basic facts to him that he could have Googled, or at least asked one of the many US government North Korea experts about.

    Trump came to a profound realization about one of the most dangerous conflicts on earth after a 10-minute conversation.

    Trump is getting his information about East Asian affairs from the leader of America’s largest rival in the region.

    Trump is a loud-mouth moron. Though some of his supporters are even worse.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Pch101:

    The chemical weapons are just a distraction.

    We are in the process of getting all the distraction we need. Trump is shooting off his mouth about North Korea, and things are getting very, very dicey. It may yet de-escalate. But think about what happens if it doesn’t: If this ends with Baby Kim’s invasion of SK, perhaps poison gas attacks in Tokyo, and the Chinese and American nuclear weapons placed on hair trigger with Beijing, Shanghai and Washington and NYC in the crosshairs, who do you think the world will rally behind? Donald Trump is single handedly moving the world to war while Congress is paralyzed. And this war will cause the deaths of millions in Asia, and not a single one in the US ( at least until the terrorist strikes hit ). The Republican Party leader Donald Trump is escalating the situation without making alliances and preparing the groundwork. If a war breaks out these millions of Asian deaths will be seen as being on the hands of the Americans, while China will be seen as the voice of reason. We will see cries from half the world for vengeance, and the other half will have no sympathy for us. After all, the world knows that Trump has white supremacists like Bannon in the most senior positions, as well as the worst of the Republican Party bigots tapped to head up some of the most important cabinet posts. When 4 billion Asians decide that the US did this because they don’t care about Asian lives, who are they going to trust? Xi Jin Ping or Donald Trump?

    If North Korea needs to be dealt with, it must be legitimately be seen as led from the Asian side, from SK and Japan. The US can be called upon to support their allies. But the way the administration is handling it, with no checks or balances from the Republican Congress, it will be seen as the US starting a fight in someone else’s backyard.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. Franklin says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Funny how none of the Trump haters have even considered that possibility.

    It’s been considered and dismissed. He’s following his lifelong trend of spouting every fool thing that pops in his head. And usually with misspellings.

    Speaking of misspellings, I see you couldn’t even handle writing your own fancy name.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. Pch101 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    You might be reading too much into it.

    Trump is a bully, so he is used to acting like one. But bullies also have an underlying fear of being bullied themselves, so they tend to back down when they feel that they are at a disadvantage.

    Trump is also narcissistic, so he will switch allegiances at the drop of a hat, and then later shamelessly switch back without even acknowledging the flip-flop. (Very Orwellian.)

    Related to that, Trump has trust issues. So he relies upon a few people to feed him information and shape his views (although he won’t hesitate to throw them under the bus when it suits him.)

    Trump is also not very bright. (I am thinking that he may also suffer from severe dyslexia, so he can’t process written information very well.) That encourages him to rely on his gut since he isn’t capable of analyzing anything.

    So ultimately, he’ll back down on North Korea. That’s mostly talk. When he can’t get something that he wants, he’ll move on.

    The Russia stuff is also talk. The attack on the airfield was security theater and won’t change anything.

    If anything, the airbase attack helped the Russians, since it gave Putin more ammunition in his ongoing efforts to use wounded Russian pride to feed his government’s predatory Soviet-czarist imperial nostalgia.

    I go back to my contention that Trump’s “foreign policy” is really about currying favor on the home front and has little to do with events overseas.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Pch101 says:

    @Franklin:

    “Bob” must be the poster formerly known as J-e-n-o-s. (I used the hyphens because the handle seems to be blocked.) This version isn’t any smarter than the last one.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:
    I decided the same thing.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    You can change your name J-e-n-o-s but your goal-post-moving, your lack of honesty or intellectual integrity remains the same.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Pch101:
    @michael reynolds:
    Interesting…very interesting…
    (apologies to Arte Johnson)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. rachel says:

    @michael reynolds: You think this is Jenos? Why would he change his nym? It’s not like has a sense of shame.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: What evidence do you have that Trump, in fact, works?

    From all the evidence we’ve seen so far, the only thing this guy knows how to do is a) watch cable b) eat junk food c) use Twitter.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. al-Alameda says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    There’s a signficant cognitive dissonance in the heads of Democrats that Trump is A) unstable and out-of-control, and B) controlled by Putin. Both, of course, cannot be true.

    Cognitive dissonance?
    Why are, or should, those two items, A) and B), be mutually exclusive?

    Trump might well be ‘unstable and out-of-control’ some of the time (not necessarily all of the time), and he may be ‘controlled by Putin’ in that Putin may have compromising information related to Trump’s and his high level associates’ various business financial dealings with Russian business and government people.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. al-Alameda says:

    @teve tory:

    Trump is a loud-mouth moron. Though some of his supporters are even worse.

    Well, that seems to bring us back to “deplorables” doesn’t it?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. CSK says:

    @Pch101:

    Sure, but with whom is he currying favor? Breitbart, Infowars, and the rest of the alt-right are really unhappy about Syria, so he’s losing his base.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    Trump took a bruising with the healthcare bill. He is pivoting to those who will give him the votes — he wants some conspicuous wins that can give him bragging rights.

    Trump may also presume that retreating from the base will cause the base to compromise, although he is probably wrong to believe that.

    He also wants to deal with his Russian problem. If the GOP establishment rallies behind him, then he is less likely to be scrutinized.

    Trump doesn’t seem to worry about losing anyone. When he loses someone, he’ll just keep moving until he finds a replacement.

    Trump shifts back and forth based upon his own agenda, and will pivot back to the base when it suits him. (Whether the base will forgive him is another matter — as does Trump, it tends to carry grudges.)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Pch101:

    You might be reading too much into it.

    All I can say is that history is full of wars that were started because of ineptitude and tactical incompetence.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Steve V says:

    I’m just a bit stunned by this whole Russia thing. I’ve been around for almost 50 years and have been following politics since Reagan was president, and I’ve never seen anything like this. A U.S. presidential campaign was run by people who may have been agents of a foreign power. It’s stunning.

    I daresay that if this happened to a Democrat “lock her up” would be among the mildest reactions from the GOP. These last six months have just been surreal.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  35. panda says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    There’s a signficant cognitive dissonance in the heads of Democrats that Trump is A) unstable and out-of-control, and B) controlled by Putin. Both, of course, cannot be true.

    Good thing we have brave, reasonable leftists to agree with our patriotic, manly conservatives that Democrats are irrational, hysterical, sissies.

    Birds of a feather flock together

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Joe Gage says:

    I long for Christoper Steele testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee. I have 0 reason to doubt the veracity or motivations of this man.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @rachel:

    Let people write enough and you get a sort of rough map to their brain. Bob has the same style, the same tactic of moving the goalposts when he’s caught in some bit of transparent bullsh-t, the same intellectual limits, the same always-dashed giddy expectation that this time he’s really got a winner. . . . 90% certainty.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Plus, he’s verbose and desperately wants to be taken seriously.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. Joe Gage says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    How can one know if Trump can’t be controlled if he won’t release his tax returns? We’re talking about a “billionaire” with a stream of multiple bankruptcies. Questions about Manafort, Page, the Florida mansion sale in 2008 to a Russian oligarch & the lawsuit against Deutsche Bank need to be answered before any semblance of trust can be given to Trump. I will also say that the Left needs to be more careful in their attacks on Trump and not chase every lead like the way Rachel Maddow did with her “bombshell” of Trump’s tax returns. The facts will come out soon enough and no amount of bluster or bombing by Trump won’t prevent that from happening.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  40. Jeremy says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    So he spends a few minutes in the morning going off on Twitter, in response to some provocation. Then he goes to work and does the important stuff while his haters spend all day losing their heads over that tweet — and don’t pay any attention to what he does with the rest of his day.

    Funny how none of the Trump haters have even considered that possibility. Probably because it conflicts with their image of Trump, and makes them look stupid. And they’re (well, you’re) the furthest thing from stupid — just ask yourselves!

    There is actually something to this. I don’t really think Trump is all that intelligent, but a lot of what he is doing seems like distraction, meant to keep us from paying attention from real issues. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see that this recent souring of US-Russian relations is meant to throw us off from what the real story is — which is that Russia probably sold a huge stake in Rosneft to Trump affiliated companies.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @al-Alameda: Your argument is Trump can be self-disciplined long enough to obey the Russians but is unable in every other aspect of his life? That isn’t how unstable personalities behave, because they’re unstable. They can’t by definition, control themselves because they utterly lack the necessary self-discipline. We’re swamped with examples of Trump doing things detrimental to his own interests and it would be extraordinary in the extreme to find he suddenly has perfect self-control only when it comes to a Russian.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    That’s just not true, Ben. Even schizophrenics can respond rationally in some situations, and no one is saying Trump is schizophrenic. What Trump is is a psychopath, and they are quite good at judging power dynamics and responding accordingly. You’re telling us that tiger cannot be both a ravening beast when facing villagers and a prudent coward in the face of hunters and dogs.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. Pch101 says:

    Trump likes Russian money, but he would also throw the Russians or his own mother under the bus if he thought that he could get some immediate benefit from doing so.

    Trump is untrustworthy and always trying to get what he wants. Because he wants money and power, he will collude with unsavory people to get them. He will pivot away from the Russians for now because that’s what he needs to do now, then pivot back to them later as necessary. It shouldn’t be that tough to understand.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @Pch101:
    The pivot is all theater.

    Ask yourself this: has Putin been damaged in any way? Is he out of Syria? Has he had to give ground in Crimea or Ukraine? Has he lost a dime from his Swiss bank account?

    Putin gets to strut and talk about ‘international law’ and bank the profit for selling Assad newer planes to replace the old ones we blew up.

    There is a major disconnect between what actually happened (not much) and the over-the-top rhetoric coming from the US and Russia. There’s a reason for that: it’s theater.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  45. Eric Florack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
    Oh, please.
    If you’re trying to take all the air out of the room you would do better by breathing on people than tossing around baseless charges.
    Thanks for the giggle

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  46. Eric Florack says:

    This constant attempts to keep the trumpet under Russian influence myth alive is nothing short of pathetic. You do realize that guys don’t you?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  47. bill says:

    the whole “russian” thing is lame, like they wanted trump to win….yeah, the guy who wants to drill/frack like mad and lessen russia’s main exports value…..the brilliance of that alone is staggering.
    plus, he’s known to be a bit more “manly” than most all liberals…hence lobbing missiles at assad without even drawing a line in the sand first. so tell us all again how russia screwed hillary over!

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:
    Dude, you’re too uninformed to even track what’s happened.

    1) It is not speculation that Putin interfered with the election to hurt Hillary and help Trump. That is fact. Period.

    2) The question on the table is not whether Putin helped Trump, but whether Trump collaborated with Putin in undermining the election. That is not proven. That awaits the FBI and Senate Intel.

    3) The second question is whether Trump is entirely owned by Putin. That question is not settled, that too awaits investigation.

    4) A third question is whether Trump has financed his ’empire’ with laundered money, presumably from Russia via Manafort and Cyprus. This too, is yet to be proven.

    So, when you’re playing your good little Trumpkin self you want to stop wasting time on #1 – that one is baked and ready to eat. You want to focus on 2, 3 and 4. You’re still going to be wrong I strongly suspect, but at least you’ll be able to pretend you actually read an occasional newspaper.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    A third question is whether Trump has financed his ’empire’ with laundered money, presumably from Russia via Manafort and Cyprus. This too, is yet to be proven.

    Let’s just say that certain Russians and Ukranians sure do seem to buy a lot of (still to this day empty) apartments in buildings with Trump’s name on them, and they sure do seem to pay an awful lot of money for them. Some of them even buy five or six in the same building …

    | | <— read between them

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  50. Mr. Bluster says:

    …but a lot of what he is doing seems like distraction, meant to keep us from paying attention from real issues.

    What do they call putting out Bad News on Good Friday?
    White House says it won’t make visitor logs public

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. JohnMcC says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Goodness, dear! Whatever are you trying to say?!

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. Matt says:

    @rachel: Because he has used a variety of names in the past.

    I tried to say some of his old names but they were keeping my message from posting. So I’m going to guess he’s been banned or something.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. Matt says:

    @bill: We weren’t buying oil or gas from Russia. Europe was Russia’s biggest customer by far. Last I knew sanctions were still in place on the oil companies (and other companies) in Russia (Europe signed up for those sanctions btw). So Russia’s oil/gas companies are screwed till those sanctions are revoked.

    The vast expansion in fracking and drilling occurred under Obama. As it stands right now water based mobile drilling rigs have several years of work lined up. Yes there’s a straight up shortage of drilling capability right now.

    Your entire post is nonsensical.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  55. bill says:

    @michael reynolds: yeah, time for a new “tin-foil hat” mike!
    your inability to cope with her losing to someone who never ran for office is comical, like the whole “russian conspiracy”. ever read up on how much money russians gave to hillary and billary ? and even bother to ask why? they were easily bought and had no shame about it, trump has no need for money anymore, and therein lies the rub.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  56. rachel says:

    @Matt: He’d have to write something pretty heinous to get banned from here.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:
    Stay dumb, Bill, but remember: I told you so.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  58. teve tory says:

    trump has no need for money anymore,

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA you’re just the kinda sucker Trump likes.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. Gustopher says:

    I don’t think Trump is a sociopath. I think Trump is a man who is controlled by his emotions, who thinks he is controlled by his intellect. It’s unfortunate that his emotions are mostly anger, resentment and insecurity. His reactions are going to be all over the place. Any strategies and goals are undermined by his behavior.

    I think the Russians have some control over him, but that he isn’t going to be fully controlled because his anger gets the better of him.

    He’s like an unpopular 15 year old boy who thinks that if he does X people will like him, but when that doesn’t work he switches to Y on the drop of a hat, and then Z, and then starts calling people losers. I just hope he doesn’t shoot up the school.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @bill:

    trump has no need for money anymore

    Whew, do I wish I could explain to you just how wrong you are about that. You have no idea how wrong …

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  61. al-Ameda says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    your argument is Trump can be self-disciplined long enough to obey the Russians but is unable in every other aspect of his life? That isn’t how unstable personalities behave, because they’re unstable.

    Do you know of people who are manic or bi-polar? To say of them that they can be both rational and irrational is true. Those conditions are not mutually exclusive when it comes to characterizing those folks.

    At times, when they’re ‘up,’ they’re very clear in their thoughts and capable of functioning in a non-dysfunctional manner. Other times, in their ‘down phases’ you get a lot of dysfunction and irrational anti-social behavior.

    I’m not saying that Trump is manic or bipolar, but I do think that he has a non-trivial personality disorder. Trump can obviously present a ‘charming Donald’ to people, and the same day show us the ‘mock disabled people, slam war hero or family of deceased war hero, make misogynist comment to Megan Kelly, decline to shake hands with Angela Merkel, etc.’ Donald. And this on/off behavior happen frequently with Trump.

    Under control? Impulsive and out of control? Definitely not mutually exclusive in the case of Trump (or many other people for that matter.)

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  62. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    ever read up on how much money russians gave to hillary and billary ?

    Why did you leave out ‘killary’?
    Was that an error of omission or commission?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  63. An Interested Party says:

    ever read up on how much money russians gave to hillary and billary ? and even bother to ask why? they were easily bought and had no shame about it…

    Much like that Bob The Arqubusier person, you’re quick to throw out allegations about the Clintons and Russia, but where’s the proof? And if you they were so cozy, why hasn’t the Republican Circus in Congress been able to nail them? Perhaps Republicans are truly that incompetent? Or, perhaps, you’re just full of shit, as usual…

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. gVOR08 says:

    @Matt:

    So Russia’s oil/gas companies are screwed till those sanctions are revoked.

    Possibly more to the point, Exxon/Mobil is screwed. They have extensive rights in Russia they can’t exploit til those sanctions are lifted. There may be a reason that Exxon/Mobil ex CEO Tillerson doesn’t seem to want to talk much about what he’s doing as Sec O’State. They realize that they are in a race to get every last barrel out of the ground before the world does something real about AGW.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. gVOR08 says:

    @bill:

    trump has no need for money anymore, and therein lies the rub.

    Gawd that’s funny. You don’t know many rich people, do you.

    However, you’re right that Trump can’t be bought – he was born bought.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  66. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Then he goes to work and does the important stuff

    You’ll be sure to let us know when that “goes to work and does the important stuff” produces anything that we can recognize as progress, right?

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: I’ll have to give that some consideration. Right now, I’m not seeing it. Of course, I’m not paying much attention to what Bob has been writing, either. It is an interesting idea.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Speak Your Mind

*