Ever since I started writing critically about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s apparent lack of knowledge on the Russian military threat and the nature of the Vladimir Putin regime, various conservative websites that usually run my column have been refusing to do so.
These outlets of conservative opinion seem to believe that Trump is a legitimate conservative, and that his followers can’t be offended with negative information about the candidate. Some of them had previously run articles about Vladimir Putin being a Christian statesman or anti-terrorist leader.
Trump’s attitude about Russia is his Achilles heel. It shows he is so misinformed that his critics will argue that he is unfit to lead the United States. Indeed, Trump’s attitude about Russia is about the same as Hillary Clinton’s – that Vladimir Putin can be trusted to do the right thing in global affairs if he is just treated nicely by the United States. Her Russia “re-set” policy was a disaster. Nevertheless, Trump could be perceived in a race with Hillary to be even softer on the Russians than Obama and Clinton.
Trump’s bizarre views about Putin and Russia apparently stem from his desire to do business deals in the old Soviet Union and now Russia. Conservatives know enough about sleazy businessmen like Armand Hammer, a Soviet agent of influence, to be wary of doing business with Russia. Hammer helped make Al Gore’s family rich, but also backed Republicans when it suited his business interests.
Trump has yet to consummate a major deal in Russia, except for the “Miss Universe” contest in Moscow in 2013. It was at that time, however, that it was announced that he was working closely with a Russian billionaire, close to Putin, on real estate deals in Russia. A “Russian Trump Tower” was reported to be in the works. Trump could make millions of dollars doing business with the Kremlin.
An Offer He Can’t Refuse?
Doing business deals in Russia can be lucrative, but also dangerous. Bill Browder’s book on Putin’s Russia, Red Notice, exposes how Putin, his old KGB comrades, organized crime and a select group of billionaires are looting the country. Browder had no special interest or reason to come to this conclusion about Russia. The grandson of Earl Browder, former head of the Communist Party USA, he wanted to believe in the promise of a new, modern, and democratic Russia, and invested heavily in the country. But his assets were stolen and his lawyer murdered.
Yet Trump says about Putin, “I would talk to him, I would get along with him.”
Jeff Nyquist, a geopolitical analyst who has written several books on Soviet/Russian strategy, says any American businessman who travels to Russia runs the risk of being hurt or compromised. “Either Mr. Trump’s moral compass is broken,” he says, “or he doesn’t understand Russia at all.”
Garry Kasparov’s new book, Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, examines the nature of the dictatorship. Kasparov fled Russia and offers an indictment of both major political parties in the U.S. regarding their treatment of Putin’s Russia. If anything, Trump’s attitude toward Russia is worse than the political establishments of both U.S. political parties, which have been driven by Big Business to give Russia special trade status. Passing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for Russia in 2012 was a major mistake that channeled billions of dollars into Putin’s war machine.
Regarding Putin’s endorsement of Trump, Kasparov says, “Putin always wants to sow weakness and chaos among his enemies, he sees as U.S., NATO, Europe. So consider who he in [the] West endorses & why.”
One can see this chaos and confusion in the ranks of conservatives.
Kasparov, the former chess champion, fled Russia when he was told his life would be in danger if he remained. His longtime friend and colleague, Boris Nemtsov, stayed in Russia, to organize politically against Putin. He was murdered in cold blood in the middle of Moscow on February 27, 2015. Read More: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/kincaid/151230