Saturday, December 31, 2016

To be or not to be Putin's punk

For months, leftist vulgarians have been portraying Trump as Putin's catamite.

Tacky and over the top?Yes. Inaccurate?

The subtle Obama has set the table for the world to find out. A New York Times analysis lays out some -- but far from all -- of the background but misses the real significance of Obama's actions to expel Russian diplomats and (in a move that I believe is unprecedented since at least 1941) deny access by foreign governments to their property in the US.

Not only does Obama remind Putin of the power of the United States -- despite the braying of rightwingers about Obama's weakness, Putin has been powerless to affect the sanctions that are wrecking Russia's economy, recalling Roosevelt's executive actions that destroyed Japan's economy in '41 (see my review of "Bankrupting the Enemy," Nov. 3, 2016).

He also presents Trump with a no-win situation when he takes office.

Either Trump continues to curry favor with Putin -- in exchange for nothing for the US --by reversing the expulsions and restrictions, which Putin signaled he expects Trump to do by declining to expel a like number of Americans (a hesitancy unprecedented in modern diplomatic custom); or he does not, thus queering (so to speak) the bromance on the occasion of the first real date.

If Trump chooses the second option, then Obama has effectively narrowed the amount of damage Trump can do to our allies by waltzing with Russia. But if he chooses the first, then he confirms the notion that he is a weakling, Putin's punk.

Well played, sir!

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