Does Trump Represent a Clear and Present Danger to the U.S.?

According to the sheer amount of data portending that Russian government-sponsored hackers were responsible for hacking the email servers of the Democratic National Committee, proof has stacked up so high that few people outside the Kremlin bother to even challenge it anymore.putin

But what’s less clear and potentially more troubling is the motivation. It was undoubtedly timed to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as the timing (mere hours before the start of the Democratic National Convention), was obviously fortuitous for putting a damper on the DNC. But the possibility that the information was released for the express purpose of helping one party’s candidate, Donald Trump, over the other is worse.

And the lack of effort by the main stream media to report on the facts is just as scary because it continues a decades-long trend that goes against the news media’s mandate of responsible reporting and has played a major role in Trump’s rise. The mandated freedom for the press to report the truth was so important to the founding principles of our country, that it precedes every other freedom afforded under the Constitution. Yet the chase for more profit by the entertainment conglomerates that now own 90% of the “hard news” information provided to Americans has usurped that mandate and we get less “truth” and more intentional instigation.

The media (particularly the broadcast media) willfully skews the facts to encourage political animosity, and thus creates audiences and ad dollars for the sole benefit of the board and shareholders’ enrichment at the expense of integrity and disseminating accurate information to the public.This predisposition to “yellow” and “lazy” journalism has become most blatant in the coverage of Donald Trump. The most egregious example, is the lack of coverage devoted to exposing the close ties of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, with Russia and its brutal dictator, billionaire Vladimir Putin.

If Russian intelligence agencies are actively trying to help Donald Trump to become the next president of the United States then one would also have to believe that Putin wants Trump in the Oval Office. Are there good reasons for Putin to want to see a thin-skinned, childish billionaire as the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in the world?

Well, yes…

“There is a clear case to be made that Vladimir Putin’s interests would be better served by having Donald Trump as president than Hillary Clinton,” said Susan Hennessey, a prominent fellow at the Brookings Institution and the managing editor of its Lawfare blog.

Hennessey points out that Trump’s repeated claims that he wants to see a much closer relationship between the US and Russia, along with his bizarre statements of admiration for Putin (and many other dictators) would presumably come with more willingness to turn a blind eye to Russia’s increasingly aggressive behavior in Europe.

“The US, since the cold war, has operated as the primary check on Russian aggression around the world,” said Hennessey. “That check has mainly taken the form of NATO, the mutual defense organization that Trump has repeatedly labeled as an organization that he would consider abandoning”.

Russian foreign policy experts at the Council on Foreign Relations say that the Russian government would naturally, benefit from any diminution of NATO. In fact, one would have to go back to Gerald Ford 40 years ago to find a U.S. President as unaware of the dangers of getting chummy with Russia.

Gerald Ford’s famous claim—toward the end of a debate with Jimmy Carter in October 1976—that there was “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe” was not known for oratorical skill. He apparently meant to say that Moscow’s control over its neighbors was not legitimate but pundits, politicians, and the public held his gaffe against him anyway and it cost him the election. Together with Henry Kissinger’s détente policy, it did not pay for Ford to seem unaware of Soviet imperialism.

Now jump ahead to Donald Trump’s curious Russian support.

 Vladimir Mikheev, a Russian foreign policy analyst who writes for websites owned by the Russian government says, “Trump’s treatment of NATO as a costly enterprise with little benefit to the U.S. (‘We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore’) is a welcome change of tune,” he wrote in an article listing the possible benefits to Russia of a Trump presidency.

Trump’s suggestion that the US might reduce its commitment to NATO, and his warning that he might ignore the mutual defense agreement that is the alliance’s cornerstone, said Hennessey, is “pro-Russian in a way that is not only unprecedented but was inconceivable” before Trump came on the scene.

“The US commitment to NATO is considered an article of faith in the foreign policy community,” she said. “The basic premise of the commitment to mutual defense and mutual aid has been sacrosanct by administration, Republican and Democrat, since Eisenhower…especially the military.”

But just the suggestion by Trump sent waves of red flags soaring among America’s NATO allies.

The alliance’s promise to defend it’s members is “an absolute commitment,” British Defense Minister Michael Fallon said Thursday in Washington. “It doesn’t come with conditions or caveats.”

Support for NATO has been a bedrock of Republican policies for decades, dating to Harry Truman’s administration. In fact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. Presidents from both political parties have expressed unwavering support for the alliance ever since…unless our own incarnation of The Mouth of Sauron  is allowed to rule our own Middle Earth.

* Richard Nixon, Naples, 1970: “What we must realize is that in a period of instability, of uncertainty, and of possible lack of confidence, that what is needed is an institution that people can believe in, an institution that is strong, an institution that is stable, that men and women can hang onto; and NATO is such an institution.”

* Ronald Reagan, radio address, 1988: “I found this week in Brussels what the Atlantic alliance has demonstrated now for 40 years: that a peace built on strength can and will endure.” 

* George H.W. Bush, 1990, London: “Some ask if NATO is still necessary, and our answer is unequivocally yes, because free nations must stand together in an uncertain world.”

* George W. Bush, 2005, Brussels: “The relationship between the United States and Europe is a vital relationship, a necessary relationship, an important relationship and our relationship within NATO is the cornerstone of that relationship.”

During a hearing on Capitol Hill in May, former Secretary of State (R) James Baker said the U.S. would have “a hell of a lot more” problems if it abandoned NATO or let South Korea and Japan obtain nuclear weapons, two proposals floated by Trump yesterday in Detroit which was supposed to be about economic policy.

“NATO has been the foundation of peace and stability in Europe,” Baker said on May 12. “The more countries that obtain nuclear weapons the more instability there will be in the world.”

However because the mutual defense requirement has never been invoked, a consistent signal from national leaders that their treaty obligations would be honored is incredibly important.

70 years of trust and assurances of NATO military cooperation and coordination between the U.S. and 27 other member countries that are America’s most trusted military allies went into a tailspin just because one lunatic elected by in GOP primaries (dominated by racists) decided to run his mouth. That the lunatic in question happens to be the Republican candidate for President and who happens to be in debt to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin because no U.S. banks will loan Trump money due to his long record of bankruptcies and stiffing vendors, contractors AND banks, should be an obvious indication that Donald Trump presents a Clear and Present Danger to the United States.

Another reason why Putin might prefer to see Trump in the White House is that he and his inner circle in the Kremlin are quite familiar with the alternative.

“They really, really hate Hillary Clinton,” said Hennessey. “Certainly in their [Russia/Putin’s] minds, he is the lesser evil.”

That’s because, during her time as secretary of state, Clinton developed a reputation for pushing back hard against Russian provocations.

Finally, Hennessey notes, Trump has surrounded himself with advisors who appear to be more sympathetic to Russia than the US foreign policy establishment as a whole or Congress. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, worked closely with Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych the deposed ruler of Ukraine.

Carter Page, another Trump advisor, has accused the Obama administration of fomenting the revolution in Ukraine that ousted Yanukovych — a position that dovetails almost perfectly with Putin’s account of what happened in Ukraine.

Retired Army General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who clashed with the Obama administration over Russia policy and took a controversial meeting with Putin, is also a Trump advisor.

Putin is smart enough to leave a plausible deniability wall between himself and his efforts to help Trump defeat Clinton in November. And in a statement translated and released by the state-run Russian news service TASS, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov explicitly denied any connection.

“In general, we still see attempts to use the Russian topic in U.S. electoral campaign,” he said. The “usual fun and games” he continued, are “not really good for bilateral relations.”

However, there is a credible case to be made that Putin has a vested interest in seeing Donald Trump elected President. The only ones who apparently aren’t talking it about it are the news departments run by major U.S. entertainment companies that profit off of Trump’s shenanigans and a close Presidential race.

The alarm rippling through America’s staunchest military allies, is how can the Republican leaders and the Republican voters in this country continue to endorse such a dangerous, racist, serial liar; and doing so risk destroying 70 years of progress and alliances cultivated by both political parties? Good question. Too bad our broadcast media is more focused on optics than information.

Harvey Gold