When President Obama expelled Russian diplomats over the hysterical and unproven accusation of "hacking the election" on December 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to be drawn into a petty squabble, saying he would delay any response until Donald Trump assumed office. Instead, Putin's response was to issue an invitation to American diplomats and their families in Moscow to join the official holiday celebrations in the Kremlin.
Then came the shock from President-Elect Trump, in the form of a tweet (what else) heard round the world that read:
"Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!"
And to be sure that everyone saw it, Trump "pinned" the tweet which means it is the first thing seen by viewers of his account. This was a first use of "pinning" for Trump. And to be doubly sure, he posted it on Instagram as well. This was no spontaneous midnight outburst but a very deliberate action taken on Friday noon, December 30.
Trump Takes on the Entire Apparatus of the War Party
The implications of this move are breathtaking. Trump treated Putin as his ally. And he treated Obama and the bipartisan foreign policy elite as his adversaries. This makes perfect sense if Trump's desire is to rein in the War Party and to strive for a New Détente.
If the main enemy is those who are stoking a New Cold War, and worse, then Trump has placed himself squarely against them. Consider who those folks are, in addition to Obama, Hillary and company and whole army of neocons and neoliberalcons: all the mainstream media, press, TV, NPR and PBS, NED, the various Soros-funded "N"GOs, all the think tanks, the leadership of both major parties, the CIA and the other "intelligence" agencies like the NSA. They have all been working at demonizing Putin 24/7, stoking a New Cold War and likely worse. Trump took on all of them on with his tweet!
Putin as Ally Against the War Party
And as Trump looks for allies looking for New Détente and a relaxation of US-Russian tensions, Putin is foremost among them by any sane assessment. Thus, in the struggle for peace, Trump has drawn new lines, and they cross national borders. Not since Reagan embraced Gorbachev or Nixon went to China have we seen a development like this. A new battle for survival has been joined, and Trump has shown considerable courage in where he has drawn the lines.
The response to the tweet was immediate and predictable. Later the same afternoon as Trump's tweet, one Maya Kosoff writing for that deep thought journal of foreign policy, Vanity Fair, right away got out an article entitled "Twitter Melts Down over 'Treason' After Trump Praises Putin." The first batch of such tweets is from "journalists and other foreign policy experts," the next from Evan McMullin; formerly (?) of the CIA and stooge candidate to draw off GOP votes from Trump in the election who tweeted: "To be clear, @realDonaldTrump is siding with America's greatest adversary even as it attacks our democracy. Never grow desensitized to this." Finally came the predictable rash of tweets calling Trump's words "treasonous" or "seditious." In response, the Trump spokespeople refused to issue a "clarification," saying instead that Trump's words spoke for themselves. No backing off there.
Voting is a simple yes or no. In contrast, an elected president has multiple policies, each of which can be supported or opposed.
Trump's move was entirely predictable.
The mainstream media scorned Trump's promises during the campaign to seek peace with Russia. Usually, Trump's position on Putin and Russia was dismissed with the claim that Trump says contradictory things and no one can believe anything he says. But that is not the case with his statements on Russia. If a politician says something that will win votes, then you do not know whether it is conviction or opportunism. But if a politician says something that should lose her or his votes and sticks with it, then you can be sure it is heartfelt. Trump pledged a kind of détente with Russia in the GOP primaries and stuck with it even though the GOP leadership has been notoriously hawkish on Russia. In the general election, he stuck with it even though it was a principal line of attack on him by the Hillaryites and even his own VP candidate disagreed with it. He stood by it even though it offered him no electoral advantages and lots of negatives. By that simple test, he was sincere and so this latest opening to Putin was entirely predictable.