Donald Trump, Ukraine Politics, Vladimir Putin

Trump Victory Likely to Hurt Ukraine, Empower the US and Russia

by Kennedy Applebaum
Original Source: Quemado Institute

Donald Trump (--linkedin.com)

Donald Trump (–linkedin.com)

Even though Donald Trump lost 28% vs 24% to Ted Cruz in the first US Republican primary event in Iowa on February 1, Trump still boasts an overwhelming lead in nationwide polls, with some estimates as high as 55% or 62% of potential voters favoring the billionaire businessman. Trump’s projected impact on world affairs, should he win the American presidency, is a pertinent and fascinating question today.

Donald Trump, like Vladimir Putin, is a pragmatic realist capable of solving the world’s problems in peaceful and practical ways. This entails restoring law to international relations, preserving Western civilization as we know it, promoting self-sufficiency, and upholding the sovereignty of nations. It is hard to criticize such a reasonable approach. Trying to vilify Trump, like trying to vilify Putin, is a tough challenge for Western journalists who serve the interests of the ruling elite—that infamous club of wealthy corporate owners obsessed with imposing their One World Government on an unwilling populace.

Bradford Richardson, commentator for The Hill, is no exception. In the September 11, 2015 report below, he  faults Trump’s foreign affairs expertise by attaching undue importance to knowing the names of terrorist leaders, rather than highlighting the front-runner’s strategy for bringing an end to ISIS, which calls for destroying their oil fields.

As Trump notes in his book “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again”, ISIS-controlled oil comprises less than 2% of the world’s supply. Knocking out the oil fields would cut off ISIS from its source of funds, while having little impact on the global economy. This tactic—even more surgical than Putin’s bombing of  oil transport vehicles—would finish off the Islamic State with minimal civilian casualties, a moral requirement the US has long abandoned.

In the article below, Richardson discusses a video in which Trump presents his Ukraine policy to the corrupt Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. Ignorant of Trump’s foreign affairs strategy, Richardson misinterprets the GOP candidate’s intent. Yet it’s hard to twist Trump’s meaning, and his principles shine through regardless:

Awkwardness Abounds at Trump Ukraine Speech
By Bradford Richardson

The Hill
September 11, 2015

Donald Trump delivered an address at a pro-Ukraine conference on Friday, calling President Obama “not strong” and saying Russian President Vladimir Putin “does not respect our president.” More notable than what he said, however, was the way he said it. Giving his speech via satellite feed, Trump spoke slowly, put heightened emphasis on his words and took long pauses between each sentence, evidently under the impression that he had to wait for translators to interpret his remarks to the audience. “You need not wait for any translation,” one of the conference moderators said at one point. The video feed also apparently cut out several times on the businessman’s end, with Trump muttering “it cut out” and “it just cut out again, there’s no sound.”

“The sound system is terrible, because there’s a huge delay and there’s also a lot of feedback but I think everyone understands what I’m saying, I hope,” he said. In the speech, Trump said that Putin’s lack of respect for Obama is indicative of the United States’ fallen status around the globe. “It is a big problem… and it’s a problem that is taking place all over the world with respect to the United Sates,” he said. “There is a lack of respect for our president and there is a lack of respect for the government itself.”

The speech, given at the 12th annual Yalta European Strategy conference in Kiev, was touted as a major event at which the GOP primary candidate would show off his foreign policy credentials. The conference, normally held in Yalta but moved to Kiev due to the Russian annexation of Crimea, was attended by pro-West diplomats, officials and scholars. Trump’s foreign policy expertise has come into question recently, after he was unable to identify the heads of major terrorist organizations on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. Trump accused Hewitt of asking him “gotcha” questions. The real estate mogul also called Hewitt, who will take part as a questioner in the GOP primary debate on CNN Sept. 16, a “third-rate radio announcer.”

[Video available at source.]

Viktor Pinchuk, who is seated beside the moderator throughout the video, boasts a glorified biography in Wikipedia:

Viktor Pinchuk (--Forbes/Alexander Techinsky/Kommersant)

Viktor Pinchuk (-Forbes/Alexander Techinsky/Kommersant)

“Viktor Mykhailovych Pinchuk; born 14 December 1960) is a Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist [sic]. As of January 2016, Forbes ranked him as 1250th on the list of wealthiest people in the world, with a fortune of $1.44 billion. Pinchuk is the founder and main owner of EastOne Group LLC, an international investing, project funding and financial advisory company based in London, and of Interpipe Group, one of Ukraine’s leading pipe, wheel and steel producers. Pinchuk is the owner of four TV channels and a popular tabloid, Fakty i Kommentarii. He has been a member of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, for two consecutive terms from 1998 to 2006. He is married to Olena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.”

This glowing portrait of oligarch Viktor Pinchuk overlooks the businessman’s penchant for corruption, not to mention his complicity in Kiev’s war crimes against Donbass civilians.

The video is meaningfully entitled “Donald Trump’s Embarrassing Remarks to a Pro-Ukraine Conference.” And indeed, they are embarrassing—to Pinchuk, not to Trump.

A rough transcript of the video shows that Trump is keeping his cards on foreign policy close to his vest. Amidst long delays due to a poor VTC sound system, he says roughly the following about Ukraine policy: “With respect to training, people have to band together from other parts of Europe to help. I don’t think that the Ukraine is given the proper respect from other parts of Europe. Ukraine deserves respect and they’ve proven this over the years. But it’s a respect they absolutely deserve from Germany and other countries. I don’t think you’re getting the support you need. The US has been supportive, but more verbally than anytyhing else. Our president is not strong, and he’s not doing what he should be doing for Ukraine. So far all we have is lip service in this country. Part of the problem that Ukraine has with the US is that Putin has no respect for our president whatsoever.”

When the moderator asks him to elaborate, Trump doesn’t waver, saying, “You know, it’s just one of those things where it’s not happening and we’re talking about many many different elements but it’s a big problem and it’s a problem that is taking place all over the world with respect to the United States. There’s a lack of respect for our president. Frankly, the US itself is a problem. There’s a lack of respect for the government itself.”

At this point, the moderator presses Trump about how his presidency will affect the world, but Trump gives away no further secrets about his foreign policy objectives.

Meanwhile Viktor Pinchuck, seated silently on the stage beside the moderator, continuously rolls and shifts his eyes, as if disturbed by what he is hearing. His facial contortions convey stunned displeasure, which is no doubt why Richardson called the exchange “embarrassing”.

Donald Trump (--yourdailydish.com)

Donald Trump (–yourdailydish.com)

But Trump’s remarks are embarrassing only to backers of the Kiev regime. He is blunt, politically incorrect, and averse to appeasing the oligarch in any gracious way. Trump no doubt sees Pinchuk for the crook that he is, a trait Trump is an expert at spotting. This is in contrast to Joe Biden, who gushes affection for Kiev’s war criminals.

The Republican front-runner has deprived the shifty-eyed Pinchuk of the satisfaction of a promise of US assistance. Far from being an embarrassment, Donald Trump, always on top of his game, is adhering to the strategy advanced in his book—that of keeping his cards close to his vest when it comes to foreign policy.

It is clear Donald Trump plans to extend no favors to Ukraine. He expects Kiev to rely for support on Germany and other neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Europe has grown tired of trying to help Ukraine, which is nothing more than a corrupt failed state. The EU after all has problems of its own, with the migrant crisis and the threat of ISIS terrorism. If the US abandons Kiev, Europe will follow suit. The Normandy Four will soon lose interest, and the charade of the Minsk standoff will finally come to an end. Kiev can’t afford to launch an offensive on its own, so this is good news for Donbass.

If the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics can hold their ground for another eleven months, the scenario of a Trump presidency offers a chance for independence. Meanwhile, a Trump victory would also foster a constructive partnership with Russia, the two superpowers wielding sufficient influence to restore peace to the world.

In the Breitbart article below, author Ian Hanchett, marching in the footsteps of Richardson, tries to downplay Trump’s effectiveness, portraying his stance as less reasonable than it is:

Trump: ‘Always Felt Fine About Putin,’ US ‘Does Plenty of Killing Also,’
Maybe We Should Follow in Ukraine
By by Ian Hanchett

Breitbart News
December 18, 2015

Vladimir Putin (--ocl.org)

Vladimir Putin (–ocl.org)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stated that he has “always felt fine about Putin” and that while he “absolutely” condemns Putin killing journalists and dissidents, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader” and “our country does plenty of killing also,” further stating that instead of being “at the forefront of leading the charge” “maybe we should do a little bit of following” in Ukraine on Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Trump, when asked if he liked Putin’s comments about him, said, “Sure. When people call you brilliant it’s always good especially when the person heads up Russia.” He was then asked about Putin’s killing of journalists and his political opponents and invasion of other countries would be “a concern.” Trump responded, “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader. You know, unlike what we have in this country.”

After he was asked again about Putin killing journalists that disagree with him, Trump stated, “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe. So, you know. There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe, a lot of killing going on, and a lot of stupidity, and that’s the way it is.” Trump did add that he “absolutely” condemns Putin’s killing of journalists and political opponents.

When asked how US-Russia relations would change if he became president, Trump answered, “Well, I think it would be good. I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think that he is a strong leader. he’s a powerful leader. he’s represented his country—that’s the way the country is being represented. He’s actually got popularity within his country. They respect him as a leader. certainly over the last couple of years they’ve respected him as the leader. I think he’s up in the 80s, which is—you see where Obama’s in the 30s, and low 40s, and he’s in the 80s.”

The discussion then turned to how Trump would push Putin’s forces out of Crimea and Ukraine, and prevent further western movement by Russia. Trump said, “when I look at the Ukraine, and I see Germany doing nothing, and I see so many other countries over there not really engaged, and we’re totally engaged, and I ask myself, here’s this big monstrous country, Germany, and they hardly speak up. They accept his oil and gas and lots of other things and here we are fighting like hell, and we owe 19 trillion in debt, and we have nothing but problems in this country, and we’re sitting on a big fat beautiful bubble that’s ready to explode, financial bubble, I’m talking about. And we’re always at the forefront of leading the charge.

I think that other countries have to get involved with that, Joe. You have the Ukraine and it effects other countries a hell of a lot more than it effects us.” He added that he would “consider” giving Poland a missile defense system, and “maybe we should do a little bit of following, and let the neighbors sort of tell us — like let us — let the neighbors take more of an active roll in the Ukraine, because I don’t see a lot of active roll from the neighbors around the Ukraine. I see us always saying get out of the Ukraine, and frankly, I would like to see a little enthusiasm from the people that are most directly effected, Joe.”

Trump further argued, “I don’t think it’s leading from behind. I think I want to see our country get rebuilt again. Our country is falling apart, frankly. Our infrastructure’s a disaster. our bridges are falling down. 61% of bridges are in danger. our whole country’s a mess.” He was then asked about how he would pay for his plans to rebuild the military. Trump responded, “We’ve spent $5 trillion in the middle east, okay? If you add it all up, $5 trillion, probably close to 3 trillion in iraq. We have nothing.”

The fact is, Trump has said in other contexts that Putin probably has not killed journalists. But the truth is irrelevant to Ian Hanchett, who would rather paint Trump as outrageous.

If Hanchett has quoted Trump correctly, which Western journalists seldom do, the Republican candidate is advocating that America mind its own business, that it fix its problems at home and leave other countries to solve their own crises. This is a major step toward world peace and stability. After all, it is US meddling, under the guise of “humanitarian assistance” and “promotion of democracy”, that has catastrophically disrupted Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine; created the migrant crisis, a threat to European civilization as we know it; and sparked the massacre of thousands of innocent people.

Trump’s policy of noninterference can only restore sanity to a world torn asunder by America’s exceptional arrogance.

Update February 2, 2016
Upcoming Primaries and Caucuses February 9 – March 1, 2016

The next Republican primary is scheduled for February 9 in New Hampshire, with 23 delegates. After that are South Carolina, February 20, with 50 delegates; Nevada, February 23, with 30 delegates; Alabama, March 1, with 50 delegates; Alaska, March 1, with 28 delegates; Arkansas, March 1, with 40 delegates; Colorado, March 1, with 37 delegates; Georgia, March 1, with 76 delegates; Massachusetts, March 1, with 42 delegates; Minnesota, March 1, with 38 delegates; North Dakota, March 1, with 28 delegates; Oklahoma, March 1, with 43 delegates; Tennessee, March 1, with 58 delegates; Texas, March 1, with 155 delegates; Vermont, March 1, with 16 delegates; Virginia, March 1, with 49 delegates; and Wyoming, March 1, with 29 delegates.

For full schedule, click here.

The Republican National Convention will be held July 18-21, 2016.

Trump’s Standing in Recent Polls

Currently, polls show Trump at 30-38% in New Hampshire, with Cruz in second place at 12-13%. As of January 28, Trump was leading the South Carolina polls at 36%, with Cruz second at 20%.

In a nationwide CNN poll taken January 26, Trump led at 41% with Cruz following at 19%.

This article was originally published at quemadoinstitute.org.
© Copyright by Kennedy Applebaum, Quemado Institute, February 1, 2016.

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