Obama’s options on Putin’s Russia
Never since the smears that President Dwight Eisenhower was a Soviet agent has there been a McCarthyite campaign in American politics as scurrilous as the present one about Donald Trump being a creation of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Michael Morrell who left the CIA as recently as 2013 penned a weekend piece in the New York Times “I Ran the CIA. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.” Morrell analysed that Russian president Vladimir Putin who is “trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them… played upon Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him”.
And, Trump “responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated” by taking up “policy positions consistent with Russian, not American interests”. Morrell concluded,
- In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.
This may seem hilarious, but then Morrell is a veteran spook and at that level people don’t easily crack jokes.
The bottom line is, no Soviet leader has ever been credited with such supernatural powers – not even Joseph Stalin – the way Putin has been in his capacity to remote control battle-scarred American politicians.
One way of looking at such ravings is that Hillary Clinton is the candidate of the establishment – the military-intelligence complex and the political establishment, Wall Street, Jewish lobby, appealing to billionaires, the military brass and the intelligence agencies and so on – and a caricaturing of Trump as a monster who must be kept out of the White House may help her campaign.
Frankly, there is very little to choose between the two. Neither is a friend of the working class. Trump himself had enjoyed the support of corporate media and political establishment through decades when he made his way as a hugely successful specimen in the corrupt circle of real estate speculators in New York City.
Trump and the Clintons were family friends and the latter on occasions even sought donations from him for their political campaigns and dubious ‘charities’.
Perhaps, things might not have come to this sorry pass, if only Hillary were a genuinely popular political figure with mass appeal and charisma. There is a credibility problem about her integrity and consistency and fellows like Morrell are chipping in to make her look presidential material by lampooning Trump as a Russian poodle.
The Russophobes will unlikely dismount before the November election. But the danger lies in their need to relentlessly expand the demonizing of Trump as a Russian agent. One way of doing that will be to willy-nilly establish that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Arguably, it is no big deal if Russia actually did that. Both countries should be hacking each other almost routinely. But then, if it somehow gets established today that Russia hacked the DNC, what next? Having already gone on record that he won’t rule out Russian interference in US domestic politics, President Barack Obama would come under pressure from the Hillary bandwagon to ‘act’.
The influential American newspaper The Hill has begun discussing what options Obama would have in such emergent circumstances. It reported today that “pressure is growing on the White House” and Obama is finding himself “in a delicate political position”.
The paper discusses 6 options open to Obama but cautions that each would carry a price in terms of Russian retaliation or Russian ‘non-cooperation’ on issues affecting US interests. Now, interestingly, this is precisely what Moscow also has forewarned some ten days ago. (MFA)
The great irony is that the US-Russia relations cannot get much worse than they are today – except if they decide to fight a hot war. The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is spot on when he told the Washington Post, “We are at such a black spot in our relationship, it is unlikely that anything could make it worse.”
No one could have thought eight years ago when Obama set out from Chicago with a check list that included a reset with Russia as one of his presidential legacies that he would end up in such a whirlpool of bathos. Read the report in The Hill.