Tags: Donald Trump | Media Bias | Russia | chris wallace | cia

Trump Will Learn: Russia No Friend of US

Trump Will Learn: Russia No Friend of US

(David Goldman/AP)

By Monday, 19 December 2016 02:58 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One of the main reasons Hillary Clinton lost the election had to do with perceived (and actual) security breaches with regard to her private email communications and the hacking of the Democratic Party.

A recent report by the CIA that Russia was the likely culprit behind the DNC infiltration should not be taken lightly — or turned into a political football.

Despite an attempt towards détente in U.S.-Russia relations early in the Obama administration, those relations now suffer due to Russian actions in Crimea and its' involvement in Syria propping up the Assad regime.

While Trump has signaled a pivot away from regime change as a policy objective — a move likely to ease tensions with Russia — he should not take Russia lightly.

Putin is an old hand; a master at both spy and statecraft.

He has fashioned a strongman image in Russia built on his ability to flout the West.

His interference in U.S. elections should be a cause for concern by the Trump administration even though it may have been a perceived media benefit, in the short run at least.

While the CIA and mainstream media points to circumstantial evidence to support their claim, president-elect Trump calls the claims by the C.I.A. baseless and attacked the agency in an interview with Fox News host, Chris Wallace.

This is dangerous territory, and the president-elect must be careful to remember that Russia is not a friend of the U.S., which is indicative of bipartisan support in the House and Senate of looking into the Russia hacks.

Trump’s political instincts may tell him that this allegation of Russian meddling on the part of his political adversaries is an attempt to delegitimize his presidency and weaken him politically. And while some of that may be true, he should also know that the intelligence assessment by the CIA is probably based on substantive knowledge. It would not have been communicated so publicly if various scenarios had not been thoroughly analyzed.

Trump needs to be extremely wary of the Russians.

It's apparent that Putin believes not only that he can manipulate the U.S. elections, but also that he can play Donald Trump by feigning respect and personal admiration.

Putin, however, may be underestimating Trump, as so many others have in the past.

While Trump is not a polished statesman yet, the president-elect’s record of success in the business arena has revealed a shrewdness that is not always apparent at first glance.

Trump’s unconventional choice of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department is a case in point. Tillerson is the CEO of the one of the world’s largest and most far-flung corporate empires. It leads in almost every aspect of the energy and petrochemical business, operates facilities or market products in most of the world’s countries, and explores for oil and natural gas on six continents.

If there is any CEO or business executive who has interacted with sensitive foreign government issues and knows the major players on the global stage it is Tillerson.

Yet, despite his extensive global experience, Tillerson is also a relative political newcomer and does not bring some of the baggage associated with other, more politically connected candidates.

It signals a shift away from the current geopolitical frameworks based on broad regional consensus — the One China Policy for example — and towards a transactional approach more closely tailored to U.S. interests.

It also suggests that domestic economic concerns, not exerting global power as the world's policeman, will be a primary driver of U.S. diplomatic relationships under the new administration.

Under this framework, ceding responsibility to Russia in addressing critical global issues such as terrorism makes complete sense. America faces critical economic challenges with an almost $20 trillion national debt, and cannot afford to maintain the same sprawling military presence around the world.

The U.S. needs capable partners — including Russia, Japan and the Europeans — to step up to the plate.

Trump also has a team around him that is capable and acutely aware of the stakes.

Putin’s continued hold on power despite the dire economic problems in Russia is predicated, at least in part, on his ability to stoke Russian national pride.

And being seen at home as a co-equal player in geopolitics with the U.S. probably helps him maintain that perception. While Putin himself may be a "frenemy," it is certainly in U.S. interests during a transition of power to promote a stable Russian state.

Armstrong Williams is the author of "Reawakening Virtues." He is a political commentator who writes a conservative newspaper column, hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called "The Right Side," and hosts a daily radio show on Sirius/XM Power 128 (6-7 p.m. and 5-6 a.m.) Monday through Friday. He also is owner of Howard Stirk Holdings Broadcast TV stations. Read more reports from Armstrong Williams — Click Here Now.

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Trump needs to be extremely wary of the Russians. It's apparent that Putin believes not only that he can manipulate the U.S. elections, but also that he can play Donald Trump by feigning respect and personal admiration.
chris wallace, cia
Monday, 19 December 2016 02:58 PM
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