National Security & Defense

Trump: The Kremlin’s Candidate

(Scott Olson/Getty)
Donald Trump’s energy adviser is all in for Putin.

Donald Trump has denounced the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as being “obsolete,” and has called for sharply reducing U.S. commitments to the alliance that has been the bulwark of American security since World War II. While Trump’s apologists have attempted to explain these remarks as a mere “bargaining position” to try to get Europeans to increase their military expenditures, the Donald’s announcement of the appointment of Carter Page as one of his principal advisers argues for a far more straightforward and alarming interpretation of his statements.

Carter Page is an out-and-out Putinite. A consultant to and investor in the Kremlin’s state-run gas company, Gazprom, Page has a direct financial interest in ending American sanctions against the company. Not only that, but Page is tight with the Kremlin’s foreign-policy apparatus and has served as a vehement propagandist for it.

In February 2014, thousands of Ukrainians braved police gunfire to rise up and overthrow the corrupt Putin stooge Viktor Yanukovych, who had been president of Ukraine for four years. Yanukovych, breaking his pledge to take Ukraine on the path to freedom offered by the European Union, had decided to surrender the country to the Moscow-run “Eurasian Union” instead. Within weeks, the Kremlin responded by sending troops to invade the Ukrainian province of Crimea, and then, in April, it seized Donetsk, Lugansk, and other parts of eastern Ukraine as well. Under the terms of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in return for Ukraine’s giving up its nuclear arsenal, the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom were all bound to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

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As the invasion unfolded, however, the Obama administration chose to ignore this pledge, limiting its help to Ukraine to non-lethal military equipment and symbolic sanctions. But even this was too much for Carter Page, who, in an article on the Center for National Policy website, peddled the Kremlin line that the broad-based Euromaidan revolt was a CIA coup, and denounced Obama for doing anything at all: “Many critics of the Obama Administration may consider the President weakfeckless or worse,” wrote Page. “Such reviews are patently unfair as the opposite problem stands at the center of the current situation. Instead of any weakness of the Administration impacting the Russian government’s position, aggressive steps taken by Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and other U.S. officials to stage-manage the recent revolution in Ukraine represent a primary force which created the hostile situation we now see. . . . Washington’s political tactics represented the principal driving force toward proactively attempting to redefine whose fold Ukraine would fall under.”

#share#In another article, Page represented Ukraine as a runaway province of Russia, and excused the Kremlin’s aggression by saying that the United States would take similar action if Quebec tried to secede from Canada. “Although Canada is slightly smaller than Ukraine in terms of the population living across the U.S. border,” wrote Page, “Ukraine is similarly important to Russia in terms of trade and other aspects of its relationship. From a U.S. perspective, Washington would likely come down hard if Russia precipitated in such a destabilizing revolution in Canada. Potentially much harder than Russia is responding now.”

The highest stamp of approval a Putin supporter can get is that of the Kremlin dictator himself, and Trump has that too.

Page has not changed these views. Far from it. In January 2015, writing on the Global Policy Journal website, Page compared U.S. support for Ukrainian independence to the killing of black youth by American police officers. “With the continued escalation and threat of further sanctions on Russia, the West has focused on the so-called annexation of Crimea,” wrote Page. “But just as injustice for minorities might be largely forgotten until documented on video, the annexation of the entirety of Ukraine by a few officials in Washington which started that region’s current disorder in the first place has received far less attention. While the loss of Michael Brown and Eric Garner has received intense media coverage and perfunctory federal government investigations, the economic injustice unleashed upon the millions of people residing in Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union by misguided Western policies has met limited recognition.

“The deaths triggered by U.S. government officials in both the former Soviet Union and the streets of America in 2014 share a range of close similarities. . . . ” And so on, and so on.

With Page providing Trump’s Russia policy, it is not surprising that the Donald has also attracted the support of other prominent Putinites. For example, Professor Stephen F. Cohen, the husband of Nation editor-in-chief Katrina vanden Heuvel, and a person well known as “Putin’s Pal,” is gushing in his praise, saying that “Donald Trump is taking on the disastrous U.S. foreign policy triumphalism.” Furthermore, says Cohen, “Donald Trump has emerged as the only U.S. presidential candidate to challenge Washington’s bipartisan foreign policies that contributed greatly to the new Cold War.”

#related#Other noteworthy Putinite Trump supporters include Aleksandr Dugin, the chief composer of the Kremlin’s new ideological synthesis of Communism and fascism, and its leading organizer of pro-Moscow fifth-column movements in the West. “In Trump we trust,” says Dugin, apparently proposing the substitution of Trump for God in the American national motto.

Of course, the highest stamp of approval a Putin supporter can get is that of the Kremlin dictator himself, and Trump has that too. “He is a bright and talented person without any doubt,” Putin said on December 17, adding that Trump is “an outstanding and talented personality.”

Trump has earned the enthusiastic endorsement of the Putin chorus because he promises to gut NATO, thereby enabling Russian domination of Europe. The crafty Vladimir Lenin once termed Western dupes who helped the Kremlin achieve its strategic goals “useful idiots.” Whatever one might say of Vladimir Putin, he also is undoubtedly a skilled assessor of men. So there should be no doubt about it. Trump is indeed an outstanding and talented personality — for a useful idiot.

Robert Zubrin — Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics and of the Mars Society. An updated edition of his book, The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must was recently published by The Free Press.

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