Trump, Putin and Russian New World Order


December 17, 2016

Trump, Putin and Russian New World Order

 

by Fareed Zakaria@www.washingtonpost.com

Put his campaign rhetoric, tweets and appointments all together, and we’re getting a sense of U.S. foreign policy under Donald Trump. The President-Elect has consistently signaled that he wants to be accommodating toward Russia and get tough on China. But that sees the world almost backward. China is, for the most part, comfortable with the U.S.-led international system. Russia is trying to upend it.

It’s ironic that Mitt Romney has been passed over for secretary of state just as his key foreign policy judgment is being vindicated. Romney famously said in 2012 that Russia was the United States’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” President Obama mocked the claim, and others — myself included — thought it was an exaggeration. We were wrong; Romney was right.

Obama’s rationale for contradicting Romney was that Russia was a “regional power,” one in economic decline. That made it a nuisance but not a grave global threat. This is an accurate reading of Russia’s position, which has only gotten worse since 2012. The country’s economy has actually shrunk for two years now. The Economist points out that, over the past decade, state spending has risen from 35 percent of gross domestic product to a staggering 70 percent. The ruble has collapsed. The country’s sovereign debt is now rated as junk by Moody’s.

But under President Vladi­mir Putin, Russia has found a way to assert itself geo-politically, despite its economic weakness. It has done so by using effectively what strength it has, such as its still-formidable military and intelligence services as well as its veto in the U.N. Security Council. Most ambitiously and devastatingly, it has found a way to leverage its strength dramatically using cyber warfare.

We are now gaining a fuller picture of Russia’s use of its power, which began years ago, with operations in Russia itself, then in Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and other European countries and, finally, in the United States during the last presidential campaign. In each case, Moscow directed a full-spectrum strategy, including hacking, trolling, fake news and counterintelligence aimed at discrediting targeted politicians, interfering with campaigns and tilting elections. These efforts are sometimes used in conjunction with more traditional military force, as in Ukraine and Georgia. Observing Russia’s operations over the past three years, NATO’s former supreme commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, noted this summer that Moscow’s growing offensive efforts “are of a breadth and complexity that the [European] continent has not seen since the end of World War II.”

China, by contrast, is an economic superpower. While growth has slowed substantially, it is already, by some measures, the world’s largest economy. In 1990, China was less than 2 percent of global GDP; today it is about 15 percent (almost 10 times Russia’s share). It spends $215 billion on its military, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute , about three times Russia’s defense budget. And its foreign reserves total more than $3 trillion, about eight times Russia’s. In a tweet this month, Donald Trump said that he accepted a call from Taiwan’s president because the country buys billions of dollars of goods from the United States. If that’s the metric, note that last year China bought $162 billion of goods and services from the United States, about four times as much as Taiwan.

Many people had assumed that, given this enormous arsenal of strength, China would begin to assert itself geo-politically. And it has done so, especially in Southeast Asia. But China has also become a status quo power, comfortable with the world in which it has grown rich, and wary of overturning the global system into which it is now integrating. So while Trump keeps accusing China of devaluing its currency, for the last year Beijing has been trying to do the opposite. It has been spending tens of billions of dollars to prop up the yuan so that it is seen as a stable and viable international reserve. Whether on climate change or peacekeeping, China has been willing to play a more constructive role in recent years than ever before. It also has far greater capacity to engage in asymmetrical attacks using cyber operations than does Russia. And it makes extensive use of these tactics in military and economic espionage. But it has not, so far, engaged in anything as destabilizing as Russia’s efforts to undermine the Western democratic order.

Image result for fareed zakaria

Keep in mind that China’s view of the world over the past two decades has been fundamentally benign, having grown to wealth and power in that period. Putin, by contrast, believes that the end of Soviet communism in 1989 was the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” and that Russia has been humiliated ever since. His goal appears to be to overturn the U.S.-created international order, even if this means chaos.

The question is, why would an American president-elect help Moscow achieve that goal?

 

7 thoughts on “Trump, Putin and Russian New World Order

  1. Putin is looking over his shoulder at China, facing the imminent prospect that Russia’s far flung eastern regions will osmose into China’s economy and political sphere of control. That process is in fact already well underway.

    Having a greater China looming over Alaska and dominating Eurasia suits no one except of course the CCP.

    Further, China is not interested in becoming a good global citizen and being treated equally under the generally agreed international conventions, what China seeks is what China has always sought and demanded from other nations, that is for other nations kowtow to The Middle Kingdom. If you disagree with this analysis you may want to take it up with the good folks at Rand.

    It is our interest to work with Russia and India to counter China doing what China cannot help but do. That is when China shatters (sorry) it is certain that the CCP will lash out at a deemed foreign enemy in an attempt to unite the population behind The Party.

    Why will China break down?

    Put it this way, The US is The Great Phoenix because The System recognised the inevitable nature of complex system failure and hence The System was designed to fail gracefully and then to reset in an orderly manner to create something even better. Everything from the transfer of power in the election cycle, to patent law and bankruptcy law is about promulgating reset.

    China on the other hand is like its namesake material, china. It is hard and strong but there is no yield and the only failure mode is catastrophic. Reset is a random event that generally requires a civil war or two and can take centuries to happen

  2. As i had said, Trump is a businessman. His strategy is that of divide and conquer.

    Remember the USA is actually the largest empire the world has ever seen or will see again. It’s reach is global, what with all those ‘lily-pad’ military bases strewn across the globe with its undisputed cultural and technological hegemony. Who doesn’t know who Mickey Mouse is..? The Eagle has been soaring since WW 2 and will remain so until the end of this century, if macro-history is anything to go by. Just like ‘God is Dead’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’ mantra, the ‘The End of History’, is about false prophets.

    Russia, although economically desperate now has always been a pygmy in the global economic sense. Nothing earth shaking about that! The Bear has the largest Underdeveloped energy and mineral resources, besides being the largest country by area, on this planet, in case Fareed doesn’t get it. Business opportunities abound! It also has the second most advanced military and is probably more culturally and religiously (there goes that darned word again) attuned to Mickey Mouse. It therefore is a natural ally with alt-Right mentation.

    Europe becomes secondary as it reaches senescence and becomes a tourist and historical beacon for the jaded travelers. Industrial might shifts East and impacts the Pacific Rim countries. It’s called ‘Rimming’.

    PRC, with it’s brittle economic strength and scarcity of natural resources except manpower – will be a bigger threat to Trump’s (and business buddies) global-international business intentions/intrigues. The Chinese Dragon is just a mythical creature, with hot breath and wet habits. Her political ideology is an invention of 18-19th century Western Industrial Revolution socioeconomic angst, but with a ruling methodology of ‘Warring States’ Legalism enmeshed with Confucianism. PRC has what i’d dub a ‘holistic schizophrenic nationalism’. That’s just a stupid label okay?

    Is that viable against the ‘hard’ evidence based allopathic non-karmic idiocy of the West? Time will tell. Mainland Chinese are their own worst enemy and are prone to the worst genocidal and suicidal urges.

    So.., Fareed, Money and Economics ain’t Everything. The ‘Good’ Life is.

  3. What I do not understand is its common knowledge that Reagan beat Communist Russia by bankrupting them and yet why Putin think, given Russian economics, his policy will not see the same result?

    It’s always economics first.

  4. Putin’s long term goal for Russia is exactly the same as Trump’s for America…..MAKE RUSSIA GREAT AGAIN.

    China’s mistake will be…CHINA IS GREAT AGAIN.

  5. Bigjoe, it was not ‘simple’ bankruptcy that broke the Soviets. There was a conjunction of factors that led to the collapse. It was written in the Stars.

    Other factors that drove the dismantling: Gorbachev who realized that state controlled collectivism led to diminishing returns, there was a famine due to drought in Ukraine, internal rebellion and political instability by the Poles, the Baltic states etc and the irreversible environmental disaster in the Go-stan countries.

    Reagan and Bush Sr hyped up the Star Wars (false then, but true now) which caused severe paranoia, the Pope was a Pole, the Aral Sea disappeared into a hypersaline eutropic lake and large swathes of Kazakhstan were irradiated by above ground nuclear tests.

    No. Man does not live by bread alone. It might surprise many, but humans are are able to tolerate all sorts of hardships – but the yearning for liberty and personal freedom remains the very core of his existence. We may yearn for stability, but not at the cost of slavery, which was what USSR became – a mega Gulag.

    The Chinese, are more pragmatic – but since yesterday they are no longer the largest holders of US debt (bonds) – Japan is.

  6. “The question is, why would an American president-elect help Moscow achieve that goal?”

    Because Donald Trump has many, many, many, many ties to Russia for his own selfish interests.

    As major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Most had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows. What’s more, several of Trump’s senior advisors have business ties to Russia or its satellite politicians.

    “The Trump-Russia links beneath the surface are even more extensive,” Max Boot wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “Trump has sought and received funding from Russian investors for his business ventures, especially after most American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple bankruptcies.” What’s more, three of Trump’s top advisors all have extensive financial and business ties to Russian financiers, wrote Boot:

    “Trump’s de facto campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a longtime consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-backed president of Ukraine who was overthrown in 2014. Manafort also has done multimillion-dollar business deals with Russian oligarchs. Trump’s foreign policy advisor Carter Page has his own business ties to the state-controlled Russian oil giant Gazprom. … Another Trump foreign policy advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, flew to Moscow last year to attend a gala banquet celebrating Russia Today, the Kremlin’s propaganda channel, and was seated at the head table near Putin.”

    It is Trump’s financing from Russian satellite business interests that would seem to explain his pro-Putin sympathies. The most obvious example is Trump Soho, a complicated web of financial intrigue that has played out in court. A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.

    Journalists who’ve looked at the Bayrock lawsuit, and Trump Soho, wonder why Trump was involved at all. “What was Trump thinking entering into business with partners like these?” Franklin Foer wrote in Slate. But Bayrock wasn’t just involved with Trump Soho. It financed multiple Trump projects around the world, Foer wrote. “(Trump) didn’t just partner with Bayrock; the company embedded with him. Bayrock put together deals for mammoth Trump-named, Trump-managed projects—two in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a resort in Phoenix, the Trump SoHo in New York.”

    Trump Soho was so complicated that Bayrock’s finance chief, Jody Kriss, sued it for fraud. In the lawsuit, Kriss alleged that a primary source of funding for Trump’s big projects with Bayrock arrived “magically” from sources in Russia and Kazakhstan whenever the business interest needed funding.

    Trump has boasted in the past of his many meetings with Russian oligarchs. During one trip to Moscow, Trump bragged that they all showed up to meet him to discuss projects around the globe. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room” just to meet with him, Trump said at the time.

    And when Trump built a tower in Panama, his clients were wealthy Russians, the Washington Post reported. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said at a real estate conference in 2008, according to a trade publication, eTurboNews.

    The Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Adviser are the iron triangle to the President of the United States. Does anyone have any question why Trump picks Rex Tillerson and Michael Flynn, both buddies of Putin, to become the Secretary of State and the National Security Adviser? As for “Mad Dog” Mattis, he will be happy as long as you find him a war to fight.

  7. Contrary to what the Democrats think and say Russian President will not be able to roam the former Soviet Republics and the Middle East and you might as well add The South China Sea as well at will. And the low oil prices will be a vital tool in that excercise.

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