President Donald Trump is probably the most vilified White House tenant, yet in their desperate search for ways to evict him, the Justice Department and the media have passed over his encouragement of Neo-Nazi violence, his racial ‘dog whistling’, his widely publicized affairs — and the payments made to keep the women quiet — his shady business dealings around the world, including suspected complicity in Russian money-laundering, to concentrate exclusively on the fact that for several years leading up to his election, he was soliciting Vladimir Putin, the ‘authoritarian’ President of Russia, to allow a Russian bank to finance the building of a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Moscow is not ‘The City of Lights’, but a cold, drab place, and it may be precisely because of this that ‘the Donald’ had his heart set on seeing his name in lights not too far from the Kremlin’s foreboding walls. However much Trump as president makes me nervous, I cannot fault him for not putting all his eggs in one basket. (He recently explained that had he not won the election, he would have gone on to build the tower in Moscow, and no one would have thought anything of it. The only thing that would have been different from the scenario he proposed would have been that Vladimir Putin, who recharges his batteries by sleeping in a monastery, would have politely turned down his offer of a fifty million dollar penthouse apartment, which the media sees as the cherry on the collusion cake.)
President Vladimir Putin was inclined give his okay for Trump’s project as a gesture of good will toward the other major nuclear power, and during the campaign Trump repeatedly told his base, which agreed with him, that ‘getting along’ with Russia is a good thing. He is still saying that, while journalists, lawyers and retired military pundits appear to have forgotten what they learned in fifth grade. Brushing aside the ancient principle that all men of good will should aspire to peace, the media alleges with one voice that the tower negotiations make the President complicit in a Russian effort to have US sanctions for its ‘behavior’ vis a vis Ukraine removed. Their breathless analyses culminate in an assertion by the inevitable Rachel Maddow that the dream of a collection of shady characters could lead to Trump’s impeachment for attempted treason!
Just to recap: five years ago, Ukraine, which stands between Russia and the Eastern European invasion corridor leading to it, underwent a sort of civil war, courtesy of the US, and with the muscular participation of Neo-Nazis. The radical change of government motivated Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern provinces which, like their brothers across the border, are viscerally opposed to fascism, to succeed, with the military backing of president Putin, who was also moved to propose a referendum in the majority Russian speaking Crimean peninsula, where Russia’s southern fleet has been based since the time of Catherine the Great. This elementary safety move was seized upon to justify bringing NATO troops right up to Russia’s Western border, in violation of promises made by Reagan to Gorbachev, and to propose building a military base in Poland.
Last week, before leaving for Buenos Aires, the President confirmed a planned meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. A half hour later, a mid-air tweet was broadcast: “Because the Russians have not returned the Ukrainian ships and sailors, I consider it to be in everybody’s interest that I not meet with President Putin.” (Who knows what kind of pressure was put on him, at 35 thousand feet?) The accusation is that by agreeing to finance the tower, the Russians have compromised Trump: According to Rachel Maddow, in return for Russia allowing a government-owned bank to finance the tower project, Trump would have agreed to lift sanctions once in office, an implicit betrayal of country.
(Nobody admits that the tower could not be built until after the presumed eight years of the Trump Presidency, but never mind. In the eyes of American ‘patriots’ Trump’s concern over revelations made in secret to the Special Counsel by his longtime attorney and ‘fixer’, Michael Cohen — as well as former lieutenant general Michael Flynn — were related to this damning quid pro quo.)
Ukraine’s failure to comply with Russian rules governing the narrow Kerch Straight that links the Black Sea with the tiny Sea of Azov shared by the two countries was not reported in the US media. The only thing revealed to the American public was the capture of a couple of Ukrainian ships and their sailors, in breach of the international law of the seas. Also not reported was the sailors’ admission that they had been following orders, presumably to allow the Ukrainian President to declare martial law and postpone elections he would be sure to lose — but also, according to deep thinkers, to torpedo encounters between Trump and Putin which are so frustrating to Trump’s handlers.
As both leaders know, had Hillary been the US President, the Kerch incident could have put the world at risk of nuclear war. As Trump landed in Buenos Aires, the Russian President gave him a lesson in the proper use of authoritarianism, suggesting that the two leaders would find a way to meet during the G20. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether that happened.
Why is this important? Because since the Wolfowitz Plan was drafted in 1997, Russia has moved ever closer to China, which is poised to overtake the US as the world’s strongest economy. For the deep state, this makes making it all the more urgent to begin to carve up Russia, with its vast trove of minerals, into small, obedient fiefdoms (starting with Ukraine and Georgia, another former Soviet state that borders on the Black Sea and aspires to join NATO), something the Kerch incident was intended to facilitate.
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years, exlusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.