By Perry Diaz
President-elect Donald J. Trump won the U.S. presidency by virtue of the electoral vote. This is what the U.S. Constitution prescribes upon whom the presidency is given to. However, he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.9 million votes.
More than half of the American voters believe that Trump’s come-from-behind victory happened because the Russians hacked the electoral votes in his favor. There were many indicators that support the findings of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that Russia had indeed interfered in the U.S. elections.
And the fact that Trump considers Russian President Valdimir Putin his friend, adds fuel to speculations that once Trump takes over the presidency, he would not stop Putin if he invades Europe.
How can one forget that Putin, on several occasions, declared that if Clinton wins the election, World War III is inevitable? His threat might sound innocuous but it would lead the American people to wonder: Why is Putin rooting for Trump? Or, to be more precise, why is Putin “blackmailing” the American people into voting for Trump lest Russia and the U.S. will go to war?
Ghosts of Yalta
From a geopolitical perspective, one might ask: Would Putin and Trump be able to synchronize the security and economic interests of their countries so as to avoid any conflict, particularly those of territorial nature? Does it call for Trump and Putin to meet just like when Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin met in 1945 at the Yalta conference for the purpose of discussing Europe’s post-World War II reorganization, which was how to divide Europe between the U.S., United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union? Well, the big winner then was the Soviet Union who ended up snaring Central and Eastern Europe into her political orbit. The big losers were the U.S. and U.K. who managed to keep Western Europe in their sphere of influence.
Seventy-one years after the historic Yalta conference, Europe is once again on the geopolitical chopping block. This time around, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is threatened by a resurgent Russia led by a megalomaniac dictator who dreams of regaining Mother Russia’s once-powerful empire. NATO, which is also known as the Western Alliance, was founded in 1949 to repel Soviet expansionism during the Cold War.
After Putin grabbed Crimea in 2014 — without firing a shot — using what is now known as the “little green men,” Eastern Europe was thrown into a cauldron of fear and hysteria when Putin threatened to retake the Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These countries joined NATO in 2004 together with other former Soviet client states Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. As members of the Western Alliance, they can invoke NATO’s Article 5, which says that an armed attack against one shall be considered an attack against them all and each is obliged to assist the member attacked.
But here is the stinger: On July 20, 2016, during the presidential campaign, Trump shocked the Western Alliance when he told The New York Times that the U.S. would protect Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, from a Russian attack only if they have “fulfilled their obligations to us,” which is to allocate 2% of their GDP on military spending as required by NATO guidelines. Of the 28 NATO members, only five – U.S., Greece, Poland, Estonia, and U.K. — are fulfilling their obligations. Of the Baltics, only Estonia meets this requirement.
Needless to say, the Central and Eastern Europeans would not be able to defend their territories in the event of Russian invasion. And if the U.S. wouldn’t come to their aid, Putin would gobble them up… like chicken in a coop.
Obviously, without the U.S.’s intervention to defend her NATO allies, Trump might as well kiss the Western Alliance goodbye, which begs the question: Is Trump serious about abandoning her NATO allies who have served as a buffer zone between the U.S. and Russia, thus protecting America’s Eastern Seaboard?
In my opinion, Trump wouldn’t abandon Europe. Sooner or later, he’d come to his senses. For the U.S. to survive in a shrinking world he has to protect America’s Atlantic and Pacific flanks. The consequences of non-intervention would spell the end of Pax Americana and usher in a new world order – Pax Russica. And if Trump really lives up to his threat to dismantle NATO altogether, it wouldn’t take long for Russia to dominate the Atlantic Ocean where she’d be able to strike at any part of the continental U.S. from her submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missiles.
Putin’s “nice letter”
Recently, Trump disclosed a letter dated December 15, 2016 that he received from Putin. Putin offered his “warmest Christmas and New year greetings” and urged him “to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation.”
Putin continued, “I hope that after you assume the position of the President of the United States of America, we will be able — by acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner — to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level.”
Trump’s reaction was contained in a statement he released to the media, saying: “A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct. I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path,” which makes one wonder: Why did Putin write a “nice letter,” which in the Russian psyche is a sign of weakness?
At his annual year-end news conference last December 22, Putin said that the US and Russia “need to discuss ways to normalize our relations. During his election campaign, Trump said it would be proper to normalize and it can’t be worse, and I agree with him.” While it seemed like Putin was offering an olive branch, there was an underlying attempt to soft pedal Trump into relaxing his TrumpTweet, which said: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” He also told MSNBC, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
It must have scared the daylight out of Putin, who responded at the news conference, saying: “If anyone is unleashing an arms race, it’s not us… We will never spend resources on an arms race that we can’t afford.” Hmm… Could it be that it is still vivid in his mind that what caused the Soviet Empire’s disintegration was when the USSR tried to compete with the U.S.’s development of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), commonly known as “Star Wars”? Certainly, Putin should have known it because he was embedded deeply into the KGB apparatus, which fell prey to CIA “disinformation” campaign about the “Star Wars” program. In 1984, the Pentagon rigged a test to show that a U.S. missile had brought down a target missile over the Pacific. The truth is: SDI was a hoax intended to fool the Soviet Union into wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in military spending to catch up with Star Wars.
During the presidential campaign, the American media had suggested that Trump was the “Siberian Candidate” whom Putin helped in winning the presidency by orchestrating the hacking of the U.S. elections. While he seemed to be Putin’s man in the U.S. elections, it’s turning out now that Trump may have deceived – or tricked — Putin all along to help him win the election. And this begs the question: Was Trump the “Siberian Candidate” or an American patriot?