Trump and Putin, or the dangerous liaisons

Donald Trump has run straight into a hornets nest.

Donald Trump has run straight into a hornets nest. He blames the media for his misfortunes, but that’s not true. He is responsible for all his woes. If others warned him of Gen. Michael Flynn’s monetary dallyings with the Turks, he shouldn’t have tried to bring him into the Cabinet. If, during the campaign, he asked for and obtained help from the Russians — an extreme that he denies and needs to be demonstrated — it was an error bordering on crime and a huge disloyalty to his country. If after that he shared with Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a sensitive bit of information from Israeli intelligence, he committed a severe imprudence.

The worst thing, however, is Trump’s incapacity to not distinguish Moscow’s role in world affairs. Gradually and deliberately, Putin has been placing Russia as the great adversary of the United States and the West. He doesn’t want to restore Bolshevism but knows that the Russian people yearn for the role of major power that Russia played ever since — in 1815, after Napoleon’s defeat, during the Congress of Vienna — it was recognized as one the world’s key nations and was thus perceived until the end of the Cold War.

During the 1990s, after the disappearance of the USSR and after the dissolution of the Communist Party, during the administration of Boris Yeltsin, an opportunity arose to attract that country  — then disorganized, disoriented and destitute — into the Western orbit, but Bill Clinton did not know how to do it, could not do it, or wasn’t interested in doing it, maybe because he was incapable of foreseeing that the world’s largest nation would end up clashing with the United States.

Today, Russia rejects NATO’s presence in Europe and opposes the deployment of American anti-missile systems. He backs the Iranian ayatollahs, creators of the sinister terrorist organization Hezbollah. Whenever he can, he tries to harm Israeli democracy. He provides military support to the murderous Syrian satrapy. He gives diplomatic protection to North Korea, along with China. He arms the Chavist army and conducts joint operations with the Chavist navy. He rebuilds Russia’s ties with Cuba and sends oil to the island when the Venezuelan supplies peter out.

In addition, he establishes an absurd arms race in Central America, Latin America’s poorest region, when he trains the Nicaraguan armed forces, to whom he has sold 50 combat tanks. Also in Nicaragua he has posted several hundred advisors who service the warships he sends periodically to the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Putin may be nice to Donald Trump, and it’s true that the former KGB agent (who detested Hillary Clinton) found it convenient to help the multimillionaire businessman reach the White House but, objectively speaking, the Russian is an enemy of the interests and values of the United States, and the president of this country cannot be so naive as to treat him like an ally. Of course, that was a sin also committed by Barack Obama with his deferential treatment of the Cuban dictatorship, unmindful that, while the thaw was being negotiated, the Castro brothers played with his head and secretly supplied North Korea.

Worse yet, the Cubans withheld, for 19 months, an ultra-secret American missile that arrived in Havana from Europe, allegedly “by mistake,” though the misdirection had the unequivocal stench of a masterful operation by the Cuban DGI.

I’m talking about a laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire, capable of being shot from a drone or a helicopter. Nineteen months was more than enough for Cuba to share U.S. technology with Iran, North Korea and Russia, as the Castro brothers did in the past with some very important military intelligence secured by their well-oiled espionage services.

Frankly, the greatest risk posed by Donald Trump’s presidency is not his infantile use of Twitter, his vengeful and colorful tantrums against the press, or his narcissistic grandiosity typical of populist caudillos, but being unable to recognize the enemies of the society that elected him. That’s truly a hair-raising thought.

Published in Spanish by El Blog de Montaner on Sunday May 21st, 2017. 

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*