Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Inside Man

What began as a begrudging respect for Vladimir Putin has grown into a full blown bromance.  The Donald thinks he is the only one who can communicate with the Russian strongman.  It's hard to say whether this great admiration is reciprocated, but there are signs that the Kremlin is pleased with its new point man, who has mostly good things to say about the Russian president at the expense of President Obama and other "weak, ineffective" leaders around the world.

Trump had dealings with Putin in 2013 when his Miss Universe contest was staged in Russia, claiming an intimacy that he has echoed repeatedly.  It's unsure whether they have each other's private cell phone numbers or whether Putin has privately invited Trump to his mystery mansion on the Black Sea.  We can only speculate at this point.

It is equally hard to say who is using who as a wedge in this election cycle.  It suits Trump to play the strong, resolute Putin off the weak, ineffective Obama to drive his points home on how the US has to act more strongly in Syria.  This all came after the Paris attack, which appears to have been a watershed moment for Trump, as previously he didn't show much interest in Syria, content to have Putin deal with it.  Now, he feels we should "bomb the shit" out of Syria as Putin is doing.

Of course, the US has been bombing the shit out of Syria for well over a year now.  The American-led intervention actually dates back to 2011, but the Obama administration was content to supply Syrian insurgents.  All that changed in September, 2014, when the US coordinated activities with a handful of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, to carry out air strikes on ISIL targets.  Unfortunately, it only appeared to have exacerbated matters as the Islamic State took its jihad directly to Europe.

Now everyone is bombing the shit of Syria, bringing even more misery to a people that has suffered through four years of internecine warfare.  Attempts to broker a cease fire are damn near impossible at this point, although Putin tried his hand at diplomacy a short while back by insisting that any peace solution include the retention of the Assad government, which is a non-starter as far as the White House is concerned.  No one quite knows what Putin's endgame is here, as the Russian president tends to keep his thoughts pretty much to himself.

However, Trump would like the American public to believe he has an inside track, just like he had a "secret plan" to rid the world of ISIS at one point.  Maybe the two go together?  Maybe Putin and Trump came up with a five-year plan in that mysterious mansion on the Black Sea to not only rid us of the Islamic State but to establish a new world order in which the US and Russia are BFF fighting nasty insurgent groups around the globe and bringing peace and brotherhood to both nations.

We will never know unless Trump is elected, which is the beauty of these mouth-watering claims.  If nothing else he keeps the media speculating, and as long as they do he is in the game.  Trump has also artfully inserted Putin into the election cycle, making communication with him an issue as no one wants to see Syria erupt into a world war, which it is on the edge of doing.  Was Trump turned back in 2013, or even before, and is now the Kremlin's inside man?

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