Monday, 16 January 2017

Has Putin Grabbed Trump and Made Him His Pussy?

Amidst all of the sound and fury last week about the Trump dossier and whether or not it was dodgy, one thing was forgotten: it doesn't matter. We don't need a smoking gun. We already have the weapon and the man who used it practically daring us all to accuse him. The evidence is there for all to see.

There is something very odd and inexplicable about Donald Trump's attitude towards Russia. The only reasonable explanation is that he has some pre-existing relationship with them or that they have some leverage. It is unlikely to be anything as simple as a dalliance with hookers, however tawdry. Trump is not a man who embarrasses easily. What he does care about is Donald Trump and in particular Donald Trump's finances. We know from statements made long before Trump was a candidate for the presidency and long before he even started claiming that Barack Obama was not eligible to be president, that he is hugely reliant on money from Russia to fund his businesses. Money has poured in from Russia his own son said back in 2008. And Trump has little truck with issues like morality, ethics and accountability. The likelihood is that he has been a willing launderer of cash from Russia, a kleptocratic, mafia state. That's why he keeps his finances so studiously opaque and why he won't publish his tax returns. He brazenly refused to do so once again last week. Before he kept promising that he would eventually. Now he simply tells the world that he has no need to because he won the election. That is the standard Trump modus operandi, one we will come to know increasingly well in the days, months and years ahead.

And it's not just the finances that are the giveaway. Trump has been only too keen to pick fights with very many countries around the world and has no compunction about offending America's friends, allies and strategic partners. NATO countries are worried about what is in store for them, Mexico is worried about the wall and what other insults will be heading their way to shore up Trump's popularity with his redneck base of credulous halfwits. Even more seriously Trump seems only too willing to offend China to the point that he may be risking war. There is nothing wrong with standing up the Chinese and of seeking a new more robust relationship with that country. But his words have been antagonistic and almost bellicose, prompting a response in kind from Beijing.

Yet with Russia, a country that was offered a chance of a reset by the Obama administration only to respond by thumbing its nose at such naivety, Trump has acted like a lovelorn teenager. This is the country that murders its enemies, has invaded its neighbours, is even now menacing other neighbours. It tests the defences of western countries like Sweden and Britain and of course hacks and seeks to interfere with our elections. Yet this weekend we learnt that Trump hopes to have a summit with Putin as soon as possible. The excuse for this is a nuclear arms treaty. What is the real reason?

All of this is suggestive of a US president who is compromised in some way by the Russians. It is said that US intelligence agencies are going to be deliberately guarded about what information they share with the new president until his intentions are clear. That is a profoundly disturbing scenario.

The irony of all this is that Trump questioned the patriotism and loyalty of his predecessor with his racist birther campaign for which he has only recently half heartedly apologised. Now, as he stands on the cusp of being sworn in, the people whom he will soon be governing have every reason to be more than suspicious of his intentions and motives. We have always known that Trump only ever really cares about Donald Trump. That represents an opportunity for Russia and a terrifying prospect for the rest of us.

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