Tags: trump | putin | nato | ukraine | baltics

Opinion: Positive Trump-Putin Relationship Will Lead to Safer World

Image: Opinion: Positive Trump-Putin Relationship Will Lead to Safer World

President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, January 9, 2017, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 13 Jan 2017 03:01 PM

Since the election the news has been swarming with "breaking news bulletins" about every comment or tweet made by President-elect Donald Trump, especially as they may relate to Russian President Vladimir Putin, DNI, CIA, or FBI intelligence reports, hacking, and any other subject the mainstream media can conjure up to cast a negative light on Trump or Putin. It is not too difficult when watching Director of National Intelligence James Clapper with the upside down smile testify before Congress that one is watching Star Wars character Jabba the Hutt — known as one of the galaxy's most powerful gangsters with influence in both politics and the criminal underworld.

The disgruntled cultural elitist Meryl Streep's tirade on national TV was a blatant effort to delegitimize the November 2016 election. Trump hit back hard against Streep's comments and of course the mainstream media found Trump guilty of overreaction. The crowds nodded their heads in approval of Streep's comments and shrieked when Trump countered with his now famous "she's overrated anyway."

A significant effort has been made by the press to place a negative slant on any proposal by Trump to meet with Putin following the inauguration. Trump and Putin have spoken by phone and have agreed to a meeting but no date has been set.

How and why have US relations with Russia deteriorated to this point of intense acrimony? Whose fault is it? Are things really that bad? Can Trump and Putin work together harmoniously without the interference and hindrance of the mainstream media or the acrimonious sniping from politicians like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham?

In order to understand the current relationship between Russia and the U.S., it is imperative to understand NATO and its expanding presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. The primary bone of contention between the U.S. and Russia has been festering for some years. This is the decision by U.S. and NATO to extend NATO membership to nations located close to or directly on the Russian border. Russia contends understandings were made following the demise of the former Soviet Union in 1991 that NATO would refrain from an expansion toward Russian borders. In 1991, the Russian equivalent to NATO called the Warsaw Pact was dissolved and Warsaw Pact troops that had formerly occupied Eastern Europe were withdrawn.

In 1991, there were 12 member states in NATO. Then in 1999 NATO added Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. In 2002 and 2003, seven Central and Eastern European countries became NATO members, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria. In 2009, Albania and Croatia became members. Waiting in the wings now are Ukraine and Georgia. Russia has been extremely discontented with the steady expansion of NATO toward Russian borders and has made no secret of Russian uneasiness.

During the past three years, NATO considerably built up military forces in the Baltic states. On January 4, 2017, outgoing U.S. President Barrack Obama added significant fuel to Russian angst by ordering 3,500 U.S. special forces to Lithuania as a "deterrence against Putin aggressiveness." In addition to the troops Obama sent hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles to the Baltics as well. The beguiling name of Obama's parting gift of military muscle and peace to Europe is Operation Atlantic Resolve. Many believe the aforementioned 11th hour military build-up in the Baltics ordered by Obama was to forestall any effort by President Trump to improve bilateral relations with Russia. Clearly, Obama has not been sensitive to Russia's concerns about NATO troops on Russia's border. However if the shoe were on the other foot and Russia had an equivalent number of troops and military hardware stationed on the Mexican or Canadian border the American people and president would be howling bloody murder.

The Pentagon announced on January 12, 2017, the official U.S. strategy toward Russia is no longer a policy of "deterrence" but has now morphed into a policy of "containment." However the question must be asked and eventually answered by Trump and his newly appointed advisors whether the Obama troop deployment will bring the world closer to peace or closer to war.

Obama's record for making peace in the world is questionable. Jonathon Ernst of Reuters wrote that "Obama's farewell tears are an insult. His record is soaked in blood."

Soon it will be Mr Trump's responsibility to unite Americans behind policies that will bring peace and prosperity to all Americans. I strongly believe in order to achieve this mandate Trump and Putin must develop a clear and concise channel of communication. Discussions regarding NATO, Syria, Ukraine, Crimea and sanctions are critical, to mention a few. I wish our leaders well.

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A significant effort has been made by the press to place a negative slant on any proposal by Trump to meet with Putin following the inauguration. Trump and Putin have spoken by phone and have agreed to a meeting but no date has been set.
trump, putin, nato, ukraine, baltics
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2017-01-13
Friday, 13 Jan 2017 03:01 PM
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