National Security & Defense

A Trump Administration Would Cave to Putin, Threatening Poland and Israel

Russian troops drill near the Chechen border, March 2015. (Sergey Venyavsky/AFP/Getty)
His bromance with Putin endangers key American allies.

As the New York primary approaches, Empire State residents with international connections may wish to consider the implications of a Donald Trump presidency for lands overseas that are dear to many of their hearts.

Trump wants to gut NATO. He has openly expressed admiration for Russian revanchist strongman Vladimir Putin, and he has hired several Kremlin-allied persons as his top advisors. These include Carter Page, an investor in the Russian gas giant, Gazprom, and a vocal supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Paul Manafort, a henchman of deposed Ukrainian dictator Victor Yanukovych, on whose behalf Putin’s invasion was initiated. Furthermore, Trump has been endorsed by Aleksandr Dugin, the totalitarian “Eurasianist” philosopher and geostrategist, and a leading advocate for the policy of expanding Russia into a transcontinental Eurasian bloc incorporating most of Europe and Asia.

What do these affiliations mean for several countries that could soon be in the Kremlin’s line of fire?

Let’s start with Poland. Polish independence was extinguished in the late 18th century, and with the exception of a 20-year period between the wars was not fully recovered until the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989. Putin wants to restore the Soviet bloc, or at the very least, the Czarist empire, which included not only Ukraine, but most of Poland, and the Baltic states as well. This means that, as far as Putin is concerned, Polish independence must be crushed. His potential methods for achieving this objective include both military and economic means.

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Russia’s military dominance in the region is obvious. Its only potential counter is NATO, an alliance that Trump says is obsolete. The threat of Russian military aggression against Poland and the Baltic states had been greatly enhanced by the failure of the Obama administration to honor America’s commitment to defend Ukraine with more than token support. Trump’s advisor Carter Page, however, has attacked Obama for defending Ukraine too strongly, with the administration’s economic sanctions against Gazprom no doubt being particularly objectionable. Such an approach — without NATO protection or even the threat of retaliatory sanctions — would make a Trump administration a virtual green light for further military aggression by the Kremlin in Eastern Europe.

#share#An outright attack by the Russian army might not even be necessary to crush Poland: Putin has other means at his disposal, with the most obvious being to deny Poland gas supplies. To make this strategy possible, the Putin government, in collusion with the administrations of German prime ministers Gerhard Schroeder and Angela Merkel, has built the Nord Stream Pipeline. The sole purpose of this project, dubbed by Polish leaders the “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pipeline” after the infamous pact that allied Nazi Germany with the Soviet Union to crush Poland in 1939, is to allow Russia to cut off gas supplies to Poland without having to lose revenue from gas sales to Germany and western Europe at the same time.

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Would the Germans, if left to their own devices, be willing to collude with Russia’s absolutist rulers once again to divide Poland between them? Who knows? But the fact that the question even needs to be asked shows the extreme danger that Poland would once again face should Trump’s policy of American disengagement from NATO be pursued. The situation of the Baltic states, which lack the military capacity to put up even a semblance of a fight, would be even more perilous.

#related#Another country that a Trump administration would place in existential danger is Israel. While Trump’s statement that he would act as a neutral arbiter between Israel and the Palestinians has received some attention, the much greater threat to the Jewish state comes from Trump’s desire to align America with Putin’s Russia. This is so because Russia’s Middle East strategy is centered on building up an Iranian empire stretching from Lebanon to Afghanistan as a powerful junior partner to Moscow in the planned Eurasian bloc. This strategy has been facilitated by the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, to give the Tehran government hundreds of billions of dollars to expand its reach and develop nuclear weapons, and to allow the Russia-backed, Iran-client Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria to massacre its way toward victory without substantial impediment.

Consistent with his pro-Putin tilt, Trump has stated that the United States should back the Russian-Iranian client Assad, as well. Thus a Trump administration offers Israel the terrifying prospect of a nuclear-armed Iranian regional hegemon, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Hindu Kush, backed by Russia and unopposed by the United States.

A Trump presidency could lead to the end of Poland’s independence and Israel’s existence. Voters should take note, and act accordingly.

Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, is the founder of the Mars Society and the president of Pioneer Astronautics. His latest book is The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility.

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